Monday, May 30, 2011

Jonesy Re-ups: Seen Him Good vs. Mathletics

Ryan Jones Re-upped yesterday at (speculatively) 1.5M over 2 years. I think the general consensus is that it's a decent signing with a vocal minority expressing a smidge of concern over the amount. I would say, based on comparables, that it's probably an overpay of about 2-300K. That said, it's not the end of the world considering the Oilers have a bit of work to get to the *cap floor*.

My only real problem with the overpay, in all honesty, is that we continue to see our GM show a basic lack of aplomb at the negotiating table. I'll give you one easy comparable that Tambo could have used to strengthen his case: David Moss.

I found him by examining Ryan Jones and realizing he was actually in a very interesting group. There were only 4 players in the NHL last year who scored greater than one goal per 60 minutes of play, and received less then 11 minutes of icetime and played at least 40 games. The list is here if you are interested, but I will repeat some of the more interesting statistics below.

Name TOI/60 GPCorsi Rel
Corsi Rel
G/60P/60+-ON/60Corsi Rel Ozone%
DAVIDMOSS 10.52 580.599 -0.517 1.18 2.360.88 7.1 53.8
MATTCALVERT 9.91 42-0.044 1.879 1.30 2.450.58 8.2 63.0
KYLETURRIS 9.63 65-0.673 1.370 1.05 2.300.38 9.9 66.1
RYANJONES 10.73 81-0.023 -1.120 1.04 1.38-0.48 -11.1 49.7

This is actually a very interesting list. There's a diminutive (5'9) junior stud in Matt Calvert who potted 11 in 42GP. Turris has been the answer to the question of 'who might be a future bust for a third overall pick', and David Moss, who was Calgary's version of Hockey Jesus last year.
  • David Moss is the most complete player in the group (and the oldest at 29), and based on his excellent offensive numbers (remember 2.0 P/60 is a generic cut off for a first line EV player), you would expect he might get to see a shade more then 10 and two quarters in ice time this coming season. He earns 1.3M/year.
  • Matt Calvert is poised to have a surprising offensive season if (and only *if* IMO) he is given expanded ice time. He had plenty of offensive zone starts and played with the teams best out shooters versus 2/3rd liner opposition. Still, Matt Calvert's P/60 was 27th in the league amongst players with 40+ games. That's basically Corey Perry's number (or Brad Richards, Patrick Kane, Skinner, Spezza etc etc). There's no question it's a small sample size, but don't forget, this was his rookie season and he is only 20 years old. Oh yea, and he also drew 1.3 net penalties per 60. He earns ~900K/year.
  • Kyle Turris was sheltered like crazy. He had a massively easy zone start (8th easiest in the whole league, Calvert was 16th), weak opposition, and great linemates. It's not all bad news though. He's young (21), and his offensive numbers were still quite good. He earned ~2.7M/year - now RFA.
  • Ryan Jones is a guy that my heart wants me to like, but the math raises a few questions that will probably only be answered with another season in the orange and blue. He has some things going for him: junk for linemates, the toughest zone start for the group, and not a total soft parade for competition. However, he has the worst offensive numbers in this group by far (7 assists in 81 games is a pretty terrible number), and his Corsi Rel is borderline offensive (43rd worst in the league for forwards with 40+GP). He will earn 1.5M/year.
So what does it all mean? Definitely an overpay. You go to the table with David Moss and Matt Calvert and there is no way Jones should be making more than 1.2M. Jones is in his peak offensive years (25-27 for most players), and there isn't a lot to think that he has the tools to suddenly become anything more then a scrappy 15 goal scorer.

But what about his crazy shooting percentage?

I've seen several posters and comments regarding Ryan Jones shooting percentage. Most people think that it is artificially high, and expect some crash back to earth in the coming season. Ryan Jones has played 170+ NHL games now, and maintained a 13.1% shooting percentage for his career. His progression has been 11.1, 12.9, and 14.3 for the last three seasons, playing 46, 49, and 81 games. So in other words, with progressively bigger samples of his play, his shooting percentage has consistently increased. This is not totally surprising, as a player who becomes a better NHLer might expect some modest increase in his ability to finish.

It is still a fairly high number, though. He was 39th in shooting percentage and nestled amongst guys like Selanne, Semin, Holmstrom, and Thornton. The good news it that everyone mentioned in that list has a shooting percentage for their career that is higher than what Jones accomplished this year, never mind his career number. If Holmstrom can hit 16.7 for his career, I don't think its entirely impossible that Jones might be able to maintain in the 13% realm.

But what about his awful Corsi and Scoring Chance numbers? did a piece on Ryan Jones scoring chance numbers and the picture it painted was Elephant Shart on Canvas. His scoring chance percentage was 0.382 meaning for every 10 scoring chances generated, about 6.2 of them were against his team (and 3.8 for his team). It was the worst ratio of any oiler, according to the mc79hockey data, and certainly must give even the most adamant of the 'seen him good' crowd pause. What is really damning about the scoring chance numbers is the fact that almost every player had a better scoring chance ratio when they were not playing with Jones, indicating he was more of the criminal than the victim.

What does it mean? It means that perhaps his goals were scored on the backs of simply taking risks that lead to a larger percentage of chances against. Or perhaps he was a bit unlucky. One thing that IS interesting, is that he had one of the better on ice save percentages on the team (.925). One would expect a player who was giving up the most scoring chances on the team (i.e dangerous shots) would also sport a lowered team save percentage to reflect that - instead Jones sported the third best team save percentage. It's stuff like that which makes it obvious that you can never rely on one statistic to get the whole picture.

So is the signing good or bad?

I think the clear answer is that it is a mediocre signing considering his cap number, his lousy scoring chances, and his mixed bag of underlying stats.Perhaps Ryan Jones a guy who will diligently work on his defensive shortcomings and manage to maintain his offence. If he can shore up his defence, and keep his shot rates and shooting percentage up, he could be an excellent 4th liner with spot 3rd line duty.

Right now I'd say all his arrows are pointing parallel to the ground, and it will likely be a tough road ahead for him to become a complete NHLer. We can always hope.


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