The Winnipeg Jets have not had a very good start to the season, but also not a very bad start. While they have managed to score in spurts, they have also allowed four goals in all but one of their games. In the one game they did not allow four goals in they allowed three. Not the greatest start. While the Jets have struggled, they have also shown promise and once they get the defence sorted out, they should be on the road to .500 hockey.
One way to tell that the Jets should improve is to look at the expanded (fancy) stats. Their PDO, which is save percentage plus shooting percentage, is 97.9 which is quite low. Using last years stats to allow for a full season sample-size, league average goaltending was .915 percent and league average shooting was 8.98 percent. If we use those numbers, league average PDO would be 100.48, which is roughly what people say PDO will equal: 100.
This year the Winnipeg Jets have gotten well below-average goaltending. League average goaltending is at .904 percent while the Jets tandem of Connor Hellebuyck and Micheal Hutchinson is at a combined .884 percent. In other words, they have struggled. First of all, please remember that this is an extremely small sample size and there is a good chance that the Jets will improve as their goaltending works up to league average. There is no reason to think that the Jets duo cannot reach league-average; especially with the stats that Hellebuyck has put up in other leagues.
When it comes to shooting, the team is right around league average, shooting at 9.5 percent which is only 0.6 under NHL average. When the Jets start to get slightly better goaltending, and they should, they should start to win more. The thing is, it cannot be predicted when this will happen. It could happen next week, next month, next year, or next season. This is the limits of PDO: it tells us where to look, but not if the team is a good team felled by bad luck or a bad team suffering from bad luck.
The Jets’ underlying numbers are not good, but not horrible either. They have a CorsiFor (all shot attempts including blocked shots) of 50.95 percent in a small sample size. For arguments sake, it probably means very little until about 20 games into the season when one game does not have such an impact on the overall numbers.
The Jets turn-around also hinges on making smart line-up decisions. Joel Armia staying in the line-up when Thorburn entered was a good thing. Kyle Connor might benefit from the AHL and there are plenty of bodies that can come up and fill in for him if needed. Someone like Marko Dano is a better replacement for Connor than Thorburn. In any case, all hope should not be lost yet.