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Top Guns: Winnipeg Jets Best Defensive Possession Players

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We take a look at some of the Jets top performers in underlying statistics.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past three seasons, underlying numbers have increased greatly in understanding for the general public. At the same time, Winnipeg has enjoyed three seasons of the Jets second edition as a NHL franchise.

In this mini-series, Arctic Ice Hockey takes a look at how the Jets' roster has performed in these metrics relative to each other in finding the best of the best.

In our final chapter of the series, we look at each player's possession numbers and open play possession numbers, although without any adjustment for line matching or linemates (such adjustments are still in their infancy). I recently have been able to acquire the Corsi% numbers under certain situations for the Jets forwards. I plan to do some more in depth analysis, but this can be a teaser of what is to come.

To add context, the defenders have been split into two groups: those who are generally matched against above 50% Corsi players, and those who are generally matched against less than 50% Corsi players. The splits have been named easy and tough minute defenders, but this is a bit misleading as teammate context is not being given.

"Tough" Minutes Defenders

Player Corsi% OP Corsi%
Tobias Enstrom 0.520 0.524
Dustin Byfuglien (2011-14) 0.515 0.515
Dustin Byfuglien (2011-13) 0.522 N/A
Zach Bogosian 0.492 0.497
Grant Clitsome 0.499 0.496
Jacob Trouba 0.492 0.494

OP Corsi% (Open Play Corsi%) removes the first ten seconds from any face off, severely diminishing the effects of face off effects and zone starts

Thoughts:

* I'm of the opinion that numbers -when used correctly- and the eyes of the experts align more often than not. And that the general educated populace, as a whole organism, is not far from the experts. The often is the boring bits though... the interesting parts are where they tend to disagree. Which brings me to Enstrom...

* Enstrom analytically is interesting. For his time in Winnipeg, it seems his non-power play offensive capabilities may have been over exalted, while his defensive capabilities have been severely under appreciated. Enstrom's numbers are leaps and bounds better than any one else, and he arguably faces the toughest match ups of any of the Jets defensemen.

* There is still a case to be made with Byfuglien, since Byfuglien's numbers were severely damaged due to his time as a forward.

* Clitsome and Bogosian have been decent top four defenders, although neither have been as dominate as the Jets top two blue liners in controlling the play.

* Trouba's possession numbers are not awe inspiring, but this is nothing really to worry about (yet). As a 19 year old rookie, dominate possession numbers while playing 63% of your TOI with one of the team's weakest possession defenders is not really the norm. It should be noted that Trouba posted a 50.2% Corsi away from Stuart, but how much of that is Trouba and how much of that is usage difference or sampling issue remains to be seen.

"Easy" Minutes Defenders

Player Corsi% OP Corsi%
Adam Pardy* 0.536 0.544
Paul Postma 0.509 0.503
Mark Stuart 0.483 0.481
Keaton Ellerby* 0.478 0.473
OP Corsi% (Open Play Corsi%) removes the first ten seconds from any face off, severely diminishing the effects of face off effects and zone starts

* Pardy's and Ellerby's numbers are only for their 2013-14 season, due to being new additions to the Jets

Thoughts:

* Jets bottom defenders have been a mixed bag.

* Pardy has posted excellent numbers, but under very, very, very extreme sheltering. While it is possible his on-ice results could collapse quickly given tougher assignments, the numbers indicate he could shoulder a bit more responsibility without drowning.

* Postma, like Pardy, has also done well under sheltered situations. Unlike Pardy, Postma has shouldered a bit tougher assignments from time to time. Postma's deployment is likely near the optimal level for both defenders.

* Ellerby saw slightly tougher assignments than Postma and Pardy, but not much different from Postma. The difference in possession however is huge. While there is more than one player on the ice, to post such terrible numbers on a team when two other players are fine under similar situations must be indicating something is amiss.

* Mark Stuart's possession numbers are not good. His poor shot metrics have caused Stuart to be the butt-end of many jokes. However, it should be noted though that good or bad results are always relative. Stuart's numbers are not overly terrible, with him still placing within an acceptable range for a #6 or #7 defenseman. His situation is not quite comparable to other regular players, like some forwards who shall not be named (but can be seen here).