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Fancystats Roster Test: Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler

Arctic Ice Hockey puts the Winnipeg Jets roster to the test. The fancystats test.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Lately a lot of my work is with creating reasonable expectations. When judging a player, especially using quantifiable measures, you must have reasonable baselines to compare the player to. If you don't, there is no point.

Using 5v5 TOI/60 of previous players I was able to calculate a baseline based off of mean and median values:

Corsi% P/60
First line 51.8% 2.0
Second line 50.5% 1.7
Third line 49.3% 1.5
Fourth line 48.1% 1.0

It's difficult to predict the Jets future lines and usage, especially given how last season went. Then add in the fluid movement with injuries, slumps, hot streaks and simple changes for the sake of change, it becomes near impossible to predict perfectly... but I can make reasonable estimates.

We come to the Jets final top nine forwards...

Dustin Byfuglien - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

There are a few reasons why these forwards are likely placed together over any other combination that includes Evander Kane, Mathieu Perreault, or Eric O`Dell:

1) Maurice has said that he enjoyed Byfuglien playing with Wheeler.

2) Maurice has said he enjoyed Wheeler with Scheifele.

3) Mathieu Perreault said he was offered a chance to play with Evander Kane.

Some have thought that any line with Scheifele-Wheeler will surpass that of the Ladd-Little-Frolik line, so I've placed them against both first and second baselines just to show the gap still existing:

Corsi% Scoring

Corsi% Baseline Pass/Fail P/60 Baseline Pass/Fail
"1st Line" Dustin Byfuglien N/A 51.8% IC 2.25 2.0 IC
Mark Scheifele 48.6% 51.8% Fail 1.82 2.0 Fail
Blake Wheeler 51.3% 51.8% Fail 2.07 2.0 Pass

"2nd Line" Dustin Byfuglien N/A 50.5% IC N/A 1.7 IC
Mark Scheifele 48.6% 50.5% Fail 1.49 1.7 Fail
Blake Wheeler 51.3% 50.5% Pass 2.07 1.7 Pass

Numbers are for 2011-14 cumulative.

* Dustin Byfuglien is predominately an unknown as a forward, although there are legitimate concerns about his ability to push the play and score points at 5v5 as a forward. Where he falls next is very much an unknown relative to the rest of the Jets. In 2007-10 where Byfuglien played mostly as a forward on an elite Chicago Blackhawks squad, Byfuglien paced 1.3 points per 60 minutes and was a solid 54.5% Corsi%.... of course that was on a team that had 12 players with 1000+ minutes above Byfuglien in Corsi (and some with less than that amount of TOI), so he was unlikely driving much if any of the possession.

* Mark Scheifele's season was a tale of two players. His first half he posted a 45.8% Corsi, 3 goals (1 on PP), and 7 assists in 32 games and his second half he posted a 51.2% Corsi, 10 goals, and 13 assists (2 on PP) in 31 games. Some of this improvement was more than likely due to increased time with Kane, as Kane is really good at hockey and improving his linemates despite his flaws. Hopefully though some of this is a sign of the player Scheifele is developing into.

* Blake Wheeler has never been a great driver of possession at the level of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Michael Frolik, or even Evander Kane; however, he is no anchor either. He does however put up points a plenty. Blake Wheeler's 2.07 points per 60 mins is the highest of all regular Jets 2.0 players. His point production pace development of a Jet has been 2.0, 2.1, and 2.1. As for Corsi%, he has posted 53.3%, 50.1% and 49.9%.

There's a lot of risk in this line scoring lots of points while still giving their opponents more opportunities than they create. This seems to be the direction that Maurice wants to go with with his top 9 forwards and a lot of it depends on whether or not Scheifele can perform like his second half of the season (or better) for the whole year.

As it stands it seems that Maurice has hinted starting setup of: Ladd-Little-Frolik, Byfuglien-Scheifele-Wheeler, Kane-Perreault-O`Dell/UFA. There is an issue though in that most of the Jets best possession players are on the same line. While this could work out in a system where LLF takes a large amount of the tough minutes, Maurice may find this lineup struggling if he plans to role the 3 evenly for ice time, especially on the road. A simple change though that may work is switching Frolik for Wheeler, bringing the return of the famous Ladd's Little Wheeler line.