A few weeks ago I posted my breakdown of the Blue Jackets scoring chances at even strength . Since that article has gone up I’ve spent far too much time working through the data for special teams. The results are not exactly what I was expecting and I am not entirely sure what to make of it. The effectiveness of Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu on the powerplay perplexed me. The ineffectiveness of Jack Johnson, RJ Umberger and James Wisniewski perplexed me more. The differing rates of scoring chances between Jackets powerplays and opponent powerplays put a wrench into comparisons. To combat some of these issues, I took a look at the rate at which scoring chances were converted while these players were on the ice. This painted a better picture of what players contributed to generating chances, as well as what players generated fewer chances but converted more of those chances to goals. Further, this analysis applied to shorthanded scoring chances was similarly illuminating. Again, many thanks to the awesome Matt Wagner at The Cannon for compiling the full breakdown of the Jackets scoring chances.
Like in the previous piece, I broke down the players so that only those with enough powerplay time were included. For the PP I used those players with over 40 minutes total played with the man advantage. This ruled out Lebda, Pahlsson, Moore, R.Russell, Boll, Mackenzie, Gillies, Methot and Boyce (in addition to those players who played less than 20 games). The rate figures are scoring chances for/allowed per 60 minutes. Also, PP+Rt = Powerplay scoring chances for per 60 minutes, PP-Rt = Powerplay scoring chances against per 60 minutes, GFA = Goals For Average (per 60) and G/SC = Goals per scoring chance (the figure is a %).
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Players of note:
Aaron Johnson: Looks bad going just by scoring chances, but with AJ on the ice the powerplay has the highest rate of goals per scoring chance.
Derek Dorsett: Was the complete opposite of Johnson. Put up a high rate of scoring chances on the powerplay, but connected on very few of them.
Mark Letestu: I expected him to be similar to Dorsett, but instead he had a high rate of scoring chances for, but also was one of the higher rated forwards in goals for average. He might just be one of those rare “powerplay specialist” type forwards.
James Wisniewski & Cam Atkinson: Were below the team average in PP scoring chances for, goals for per 60 and goals per scoring chance. Very disappointing, and I expected better out of both of them. Wisneiwski seems very middle of the pack in everything, not something that bodes well for the future. Being in the middle of the pack on a terrible team is not a good sign. As for Cam, he put up decent numbers, while excelling at even strength and not being particularly good on the powerplay. This bodes well for the future, as with his skill I would expect his powerplay production to increase as he gets more acclimated to the NHL.
Nikita Nikitin & Fedor Tyutin: The opposite of Wisniewski & Atkinson, as both of them finished above average in the three main categories looked at here. Add this to their even strength play, and it looks like they were by far the best two defenseman in Columbus last season, despite all the hype directed at Wisniewski and Jack Johnson. Speaking of which…
Jack Johnson: Was below average in generating scoring chances and barely above average in goals per 60 and goals per scoring chance. Again, not what you want to see out of a powerplay specialist. Him and Wiz were brought in to liven up the powerplay and Nikitin ended up being the best new Jacket powerplay defenseman. Wiz and JJ ended up playing and ungodly amount of powerplay time, which boosted their raw numbers. It looks like that time would have been better spent if split more evenly with Nikitin and Tyutin (when he was healthy).
Like with the PP, I used only those players over 40 minutes shorthanded. This ruled out Clitsome, Boyce, Gilles, Lebda, Carter, Brassard, Savard, Prospal, Johansen, Atkinson and Boll. The rate figures are scoring chances for/allowed per 60 minutes. Also, SH+Rt = Shorthanded scoring chances for per 60 minutes, PP-Rt = Shorthanded scoring chances against per 60 minutes, GAA = Goals Against Average (per 60) and GA/SC = Goals allowed per scoring chance (the figure is a %).
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Players of note:
Aaron Johnson: AJ was surprisingly good here as well. Slightly below average at allowing scoring chances, but he also was one of the top Jackets players in goals against average and goals against per scoring chance.
Nikita Nikitin: While he allowed a high number of goals per scoring chance against, Nikitin allowed so few scoring chances shorthanded that he was one of the better Blue Jackets players in goals against average. Throughout this whole analysis (even strength, powerplay and penalty kill) Nikitin has probably been the player that impressed me the most.
Ryan Russell: Russell is a player who I deemed “not NHL caliber” during the regular season. The truth may be that he is just a low event player. Not only does he not score when on the ice, but no one on either team scores when he is out there. Russell was arguably the team’s best penalty killer, and without a doubt the best penalty killing forward still left on the team.
Rick Nash: Absolutely terrible defensively shorthanded. Was the second worst Jacket at allowing scoring chances, had the worst goals against average, and the fourth worst goals per scoring chance allowed. However, he was pretty dangerous offensively. Nash was a bigger scoring threat shorthanded than Mackenzie, Boll and Boyce were at even strength. Impressive, but not enough to make up for his defensive lapses.
Derek Dorsett: Oddly enough Dorsett was almost exactly team average in every metric. He was slightly worse shorthanded this season compared to 2010-11 where he was among the league’s best, but he is still good enough to be a second line penalty killer.
Sami Pahlsson: Comes off very similar to Nikitin. Low scoring chances allowed, low goals against average, but a high goals allowed per scoring chance. The team will miss him next season as there is no center who is close to taking his place. Mackenzie and Letestu are the only centres left on the roster that qualified and both were below average shorthanded on the league’s worst penalty kill.
Jack Johnson & John Moore: These two should not be killing penalties. Were the two worst Jackets defensemen in both scoring chances allowed and goals against average. The team would have been better off giving more PK time to Nikitin, Tyutin, Methot, Wisniewski, and even (gulp) Aaron Johnson.