Thursday, 26 June 2014

On Statsny & J.Jokinen

Word has gone out that Jets have talked to Jussi Jokinen and Paul Statsny camps about signing to Winnipeg.

Of course two polar reactions happen whenever Jets rumours go out: a little too much joy and a little too much panic. Some are two-steps from planning the parade while others are fearful of the ramifications that comes from free agency contracts.

Let's get one thing straight, Jokinen and Statsny are good free agents:

They are the third and fourth highest scoring forwards in the UFA pool. They are also players who have improved their team's possession (albeit Jokinen with relatively cushy zone starts), and neither of the two higher scoring forwards have succeeded in doing this. 

Both of them would likely regress a bit on the Jets and perform below their contract level; however, they would be players that would help the Jets more than hurt. They are definitely the safer bet in contract value over the higher scoring forwards Thomas Vanek and Jarome Iginla, who are not as good in the shot metrics. Still, they would likely be slight overpays in both term and AAV.

But, that's how the NHL is built today. You have young players on very good, cost-controlled contracts, and -when you need the push- you sign a few quality veteran UFAs to improve your team's depth.

The trick is to get young players who give you good value on your dollar, so you can enjoy the freedom of some less appealing contracts. Draft and develop is getting the good, young, cheap players; acquiring additional talent via UFA signings or trade is the next step.

I'm not sure that they are the best fit for the Jets or the best value available in free agency. I'm skeptical the Jets do get either one of these players. However, if the Jets do, I won't be lamenting the contracts anytime soon. 

If I were advising the Jets, I'd probably suggest to still pursue these two players. If we get them at a price the Jets deem a reasonable overpay, great. However, I would likely look at getting only one and then supplementing with some lesser players who may provide better value. One of Jussi Jokinen or Paul Statsny (or even Mike Cammalleri) with the support of 1-2 of likely lower paid players like David Booth, Nikolai Kulemin, Marcel Goc, Lee Stempniak, Dustin Penner, or Benoit Pouliot. The later list are players who will not score as much as a Jokinen or Statsny -and therefore be likely paid less and with less term- but will still give the Jets depth and ability to improve their shot metrics, something the Jets will need to make up for their less-than-stellar goaltending. Especially if they use that savings to sign an Anton Stralman, Mark Fayne, Raphael Diaz, Clayton Stoner, Henrik Tallinder or Brett Bellemore to supplement their back end.

In the very unlikely scenario where the Jets do land both Statsny and Jokinen, how would I suggest the Jets do their lines? The Jets would probably have to run a system where their top 9 takes heavy, heavy minutes... almost like having three second lines and limit the fourth line substantially.

Ladd-Little-Frolik < lower zone starts, top linematching (Quality of Competition)
Kane-Statsny-Wheeler < high zone starts, med-high QoC
Jokinen-Scheifele-Byfuglien < high zone starts, med-low QoC
Tangradi-Slater-O`Dell < low zone starts, bottom QoC
Peluso < fighter "if needed"

Enstrom-Trouba < high OZS, high QoC
UFA-Bogosian < low OZS, high QoC
Stuart-Clitsome < low OZS, low QoC

PP units:
1: Ladd-Little-Wheeler, Enstrom-Byfuglien
2: Kane/Jokinen-Statsny-Scheifele, Clitsome-UFA/Bogosian

PK units:
1: Ladd-Little, Enstrom-Bogosian
2: Kane-Statsny, a defenseman - Trouba
3: Jokinen-Wheeler/Slater

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