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Scoring Slumps: Where have the goals gone?

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Quite a few Winnipeg Jets are under performing in terms of point production. Why is that?

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

It is no secret that the Winnipeg Jets are struggling to score goals. Two games ago, the Jets carried the league's worst five-on-five goal scoring rate in the entire NHL, and their power play has not performed much better. While the Jets have scored a few goals lately, they still have a long way to go to become respectable.

This brings up a few questions that need to be answered.

Is the current poor performance sustainable?

Extremely unlikely.

At 21 games, the Jets five-on-five shooting percentage sit at the very bottom of the league. While the Jets may not be the best offensive talent as a whole in the entire NHL, they are far from the worst. In the previous three seasons the Jets were essentially right on league average in shooting percentage.

Shooting percentages are highly volatile and tend to regress in the long run.

Fans and media sometimes struggle with the concept of regression. It is not past runs of good or bad luck compensate for the opposite, but that a past pace is extremely unlikely to persist. For example, if two die rolled came up as 10 and you were asked to bet over or under for the next roll, the far more likely result would be under.

Who all is struggling?

Nearly the whole team.

The scoring struggle nearly flows throughout the full roster with most of the Jets performing below their norm.

This can be displayed by showing how many goals, assists and points a player is currently under or over what they would have if the player instead scored at the exact same five-on-five rate of their previous three seasons (2011-13):

Player Δgoals Δassists Δpoints
Player Δgoals Δassists Δpoints
Michael Frolik 0.55 0.50 1.1
Zach Bogosian -1.54 3.83 2.3
Mark Scheifele -1.02 0.77 -0.2
Tobias Enstrom -1.29 1.74 0.5
Matt Halischuk -0.77 0.19 -0.6
Adam Pardy 0.00 0.12 0.1
Blake Wheeler 1.60 -3.01 -1.4
Mark Stuart 0.39 -0.66 -0.3
Jim Slater -1.04 -0.86 -1.9
Paul Postma -1.07 0.58 -0.5
Dustin Byfuglien 1.34 -3.27 -1.9
Grant Clitsome -0.54 -0.90 -1.4
Chris Thorburn -0.72 -1.60 -2.3
Jacob Trouba -1.99 -3.56 -5.5
T.J. Galiardi -0.96 -1.68 -2.6




Andrew Ladd 0.24 -3.03 -2.8




Evander Kane -1.12 -1.94 -3.1




Bryan Little -1.00 -2.65 -3.6




Mathieu Perreault -2.59 -2.05 -4.6




Notes:

* With the exception of Michael Frolik and Zach Bogosian, no Jet is pacing much better than their previous three seasons.

* Paul Postma, Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba have small samples for their previous seasons, so their comparisons are not quite the same.

* Dustin Byfuglien's comparison is far from apples-to-apples, since his previous three seasons were predominately as a defenseman. The change in position actually under estimates how severely his production has dropped, since defenseman tend to have far lower point scoring rates per minute.

Where has the drop in goal scoring come from?

There are three areas that affect goal scoring. How many chances they are creating in a set time, how many of those chances go in the net, and how much time they are given to create those chances. Everything else affects goalscoring by affecting one or more of these factors.

Player Δfen/60 ΔfenSh% ΔTOI/GP Δgoals
Player Δfen/60 ΔfenSh% ΔTOI/GP Δgoals
Blake Wheeler 0.16 1.37 -0.46 1.08
Mark Stuart -0.19 0.83 0.05 0.69
Michael Frolik -0.10 0.67 0.21 0.78
Adam Pardy 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Dustin Byfuglien 0.48 0.66 -0.45 0.70
Paul Postma 0.66 -1.07 -0.03 -0.44
Andrew Ladd -1.08 1.70 -0.19 0.44
Grant Clitsome -0.17 -0.54 -0.10 -0.81
Chris Thorburn 0.50 -0.72 -0.23 -0.45
Tobias Enstrom 0.02 -1.29 -0.10 -1.38
Mark Scheifele 0.35 -1.22 0.17 -0.70
Zach Bogosian -0.32 -1.54 -0.03 -1.90
Bryan Little -0.92 -0.10 -0.22 -1.25
Jacob Trouba -0.26 -1.99 0.02 -2.22
Matt Halischuk 0.17 -0.77 -0.71 -1.32





Evander Kane -0.37 -0.85 -0.24 -1.46





T.J. Galiardi -0.33 -0.96 -0.56 -1.85





Mathieu Perreault -0.52 -2.34 0.80 -2.06





Jim Slater -0.17 -1.04 -0.89 -2.09





Fen/60 is non-blocked shot attempts per sixty minutes the player posts. FenSh% is the shooting percentage for those non-blocked shot attempts. TOI/GP is the player's 5v5 ice time per game. The above table looks at the estimated impact in terms goals by using the difference between 2014-15 and 2011-13 in all three variables while holding the other two fixed. Goals is then the sum of the three impacts.

Notes:

* This data does not include last nights battle against the St. Louis Blues, so Bryan Little and Jim Slater have improved their numbers since then.

* Dustin Byfuglien's numbers are still comparing as a forward versus a defenseman. A forward should have larger shot volume and shooting percentage, so it becomes difficult to compare.

* Blake Wheeler, Michael Frolik, and Mark Stuart are the only players about a full goal above their normal pace.

* After scoring 4 five-on-five goals between 2008-2011, Adam Pardy has yet to pot another goal... maybe one day he will with one of those #PardyOrr toe drags.

* Mathieu Perreault's shooting percentage has been decimated. He has scored a few goals lately, so hopefully this continues.

* At this sample, shot volume has the smallest impact, although it is the most stable. Since player's have the most control over this variable, Fen/60 better approximates the player's input into their goal scoring. There are factors outside of a player's control though that can impact these numbers (ex: competition, linemates, and zone starts).

Has this affected any of the Jets elsewhere?

With less goals comes less assists.

Unlike goals, which have three factors affecting them, assists have four variables. There is still the shot volume, shooting percentage, and ice time that affect the number of goals scored while a player is on the ice; however, players do not assist on every goal scored with them on the ice. The percentage of goals a team scores that a player gets an assist on is another variable.

Player Δfen/60 ΔfenSh% ΔIAP ΔTOI/GP Δassists
Mark Scheifele 0.17 -0.60 1.40 0.24 1.20
Mathieu Perreault 0.12 -3.22 2.30 1.05 0.25
Matt Halischuk 0.25 -0.49 1.14 -0.74 0.16
Jim Slater -0.01 -0.59 -0.86 -0.73 -2.20
Evander Kane 0.09 -0.55 -1.75 -0.23 -2.43
Chris Thorburn 0.11 -1.19 -1.61 -0.52 -3.20
Bryan Little -0.61 -1.31 -1.29 -0.41 -3.62
T.J. Galiardi -0.25 -1.16 -1.67 -0.97 -4.06
Andrew Ladd -0.81 -1.01 -2.08 -0.20 -4.10
Blake Wheeler 0.14 -1.89 -1.71 -0.80 -4.27
Dustin Byfuglien -0.66 -0.61 -2.88 -1.14 -5.28






Player Δfen/60 ΔfenSh% ΔIAP ΔTOI/GP Δassists
Zach Bogosian -0.01 -0.15 4.17 -0.07 3.94
Grant Clitsome 0.14 -1.64 4.60 -0.34 2.77
Tobias Enstrom -0.17 0.05 1.90 -0.25 1.53
Paul Postma -0.01 0.11 0.44 -0.05 0.49
Adam Pardy 0.01 0.13 -0.01 -0.08 0.05
Mark Stuart -0.02 -1.10 0.79 0.23 -0.09
Jacob Trouba -0.49 -2.24 -2.38 0.05 -5.06

Fen/60 is non-blocked shot attempts per sixty minutes the team posts with a player on the ice. FenSh% is the shooting percentage for those non-blocked shot attempts. IAP is the percentage of goals on ice that a player picks up an assist on. TOI/GP is the player's 5v5 ice time per game. The above table looks at the estimated impact in terms goals by using the difference between 2014-15 and 2011-13 in all three variables while holding the other two fixed. Assists is then the sum of the four impacts.

Notes:

* Mark Scheifele is the only Jet forward significantly out pacing above his norm, and Zach Bogosian, Grant Clitsome, and Tobias Enstrom are the only defenders.

* Just like goals over exaggerated Dustin Byfuglien's increase in goal scoring, this method likely over estimates Byfuglien's decrease in assists.

* Both Mathieu Perreault and Jacob Trouba have suffered ugly linemate shooting percentages that have stunted their point production.

* Andrew Ladd has picked up assists on far less of his linemates goals than usual, and Trouba has received the double whammy with IAP and shooting percentage.

* With the current sample, both IAP and shooting percentage are way too volatile to be used as evidence for or against a player's performance. It is far more likely that a player is not the cause for high or low shooting percentages and IAPs than being representative of their performance.

* Unlike goal scoring, it is difficult to use shot volume as an indication of player talent. A better way to look at it would be to look at how a player's linemates perform with and without that player and the usage in those minutes.

Summary

While the Jets skaters should shoulder some of the blame, there haven't been too many bounces going the Jets way either.

Shooting percentage variance has a large component not controlled by the skaters on the ice.

Some dislike the notion, but it is difficult for a player to impact their own, their opponent's, or their linemate's shooting percentages (unless you are talking about huge, multi-season samples) more than outside variables do. That lack of control creates an appearance of good or bad "luck" in the perspective of the same individual.

The Jets look are under performing in goal scoring, but about 10-12 of the 14-16 goals are due to the Jets infamously low shooting percentage that should rise over time.