Pilots Logbook 2013-14: Evander Kane

Marianne Helm

The Winnipeg Jets 2013-14 season has been laid to rest. This series will take an in-depth look how the team and its players have performed, and some decisions that could push the Jets forward in the future.

Winnipeg Jets have a young star on their hands in Evander Kane. He's the self-proclaimed natural, and there is some merit to his claims.

The Basics

GP G A P TOI/GP S/60 Sh% PenD
63 19 22 41 19.9 11.7 7.6% -6

Numbers are for all minutes.

Evander Kane shot at his lowest percentage of his career, with bounces reducing his goal totals by about 3-4. If you do normalize his shooting percentage, Kane comes out this season with his second highest goals per game output yet.

His penalty differential indicates undisciplined play, which would be nice if it were rectified next season.

Usage

Screen_shot_2014-06-04_at_4.09.02_am_medium

Player usage chart from extraskater.com.

EV Percentage of Team's Available TOI 5 on 5
ZS% ZS%rel EVTOI% PPTOI% SHTOI% QoC TOI% QoT TOI%
53.7% +5.3% 31.8% 44.6% 31.5% 29.1% 29.8%
6th 2nd 1st 4th 4th 4th 7th

Rankings are given for team out of 15 forwards to play 20 or more games.

Evander Kane was deployed in the offensive zone less than his previous two years, while facing tougher competition. While there were a few players who had easier zone deployment on average, the other players were predominately getting their soft minutes push in games where Kane was injured, as his relative zone start% is the 2nd highest on the team.

Kane led the team in even strength ice time, which he likely deserved given his high end 5v5 production ability despite not receiving the same kind of help through linemates that Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little get to enjoy in each other.

Underlying Numbers

Kane_medium

The y-axis is given to show the typical 40-60 sustainable spread seen for NHL calibre players. Players are compared to particular line/pair depending on 5v5 TOI per game. Population mean (average), median (50th percentile), and other percentiles are relative to player performance between 2007-12.

5v5 TOI Corsi% relCorsi% dCF/20 dCA/20 dCorsi%
15.40 51.5% +3.1% +2.182 -0.848 1.742%

RelCorsi is team's percentage of shot attempts with player on ice minus shot attempts with player off ice. Delta Corsi values are team's shot attempt rates with player on ice, but relative to league norm given similar usage (quality of teammates, quality opponents, zone starts, and TOI). dCF/20 is shot attempts for -where a positive number is above average-, dCA/20 is shot attempts against -where a negative number is above average-, and dCorsi% is percentage of shot attempts.

Kane performed exceptionally given his usage. He faced his toughest usage yet as a Jet in, both zone starts and line matching, while predominately stuck with linemates who do not push possession well. Despite all this, Evander Kane pushed the play typical of a top line player.

The dCorsi numbers come to no surprise to anyone who has watched Kane, with his above average out shooting of opponents comes from Kane's ability to create shot volume. There is not much shot suppression with Kane.

Conclusion

More often than not, underlying numbers will indicate the exact same thing a skilled observer will notice, but with the added benefit of having quantifiable measures to compare. Kane is no exception here, in that everyone pretty much knows what the numbers say: great goal scorer and shot volume creator, not amazing defensively, overall plus player, and has mostly been stuck with lesser linemates compared to that of his skill-peers.

Keep or lose?

Keep. Underlying numbers indicate Kane will likely improve and produce better numbers, especially if he gets some linemates who can better push the play and perhaps finish a few more of his rebounds. As a guy who carries the puck a lot, these two items are arguably more important than getting a playmaker/distributer on his line.

Young players who are likely to get better rarely get traded for value. It is hard for a team that is losing the young budding star win the trade.

Bonus: Some fun facts.

Kane scores goals

Evander Kane has the 28th highest 5v5 goals per minute rate for all forwards who have played at least 300 minutes since the start of the 2011-12 season. Most of the players above are the well known elites: Stamkos, Toews, Malkin, Nash, Perry, Neal, Seguin, Kessel, Gaborik, Crosby, Ryan, etc.

In the same sample, Kane is 18th for total 5v5 goals scored. Interestingly, Andrew Ladd is 15th, although part of Ladd's high totals is from his ability and determination in staying healthy with very few missed games.

Kane shoots pucks

Evander Kane has THE highest 5v5 non-blocked shot attempts per minute rate for all forwards who have played at least 300 minutes since the start of the 2011-12 season. No one surpasses. This is where Kane generates most of his goals and offense, even though some complain about it.

No surprise, Kane scores more when he shoots more and shoots more when he is in the offensive zone more

Bkubcw7cyaavscr_medium

Get that man some positive Corsi% linemates and watch his goal scoring rates climb.

Corsi% works for Kane too; his numbers aren't just high because he shoots a lot

Kaneeffect_medium

Over the last 3 season's combined, the Jets have out Fenwick'd (non-blocked shot attempts) their opponents with Kane on the ice, but are even without Kane. This hasn't translated to out scoring their opponents, but the numbers are still better than without Kane.

Note: it is expected for a team with bottom rung goaltending to have a goal differential worse than their shot metrics

All numbers are from Extra Skater, Behind the Net and Hockey Analysis

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