There are often
players that go unheralded for their performance on the ice and how
their play affects the team overall. These players are typically not
talked about because they are miscast as having no heart, grit or aren’t very flashy.
But, what these players bring to the team is stability.
is one of these players for the Winnipeg Jets
Enstrom has with the Winnipeg organization for his entire NHL career, first when they were the
Atlanta Thrashers and now as the Jets. With the Thrashers, he was
cast as a high scoring defenceman, reaching 50 or more points twice.
However,as his career progressed, Enstrom has settled into the role of faithful play driver and shot suppressor.
In 5v5 situations,
Enstrom is a positive possession player. He sits at a CF% of 51.9%,
has a Goals For over 60 minutes of 2.35 and a Goals Against over 60
minutes of 2.10.
As you can see, when
Toby Enstrom is on the ice, the Jets are more likely to have the puck
in the opposing team’s zone and score more goals in 5v5 situations.
Over 60 minutes of playing time, opposing teams, on average, will
score around 2 goals. When Enstrom is on the ice, over an average of
2-3 games, teams might score 2 goals.
These numbers are
pretty close to his 5 year average. Since the 2010-11 season, Enstrom
has produced a CF% of 51.51%, a GF/60 of 2.55 and a GA/60 of 2.39 in
When we look
specifically at the 2015-16 season, Enstrom’s offence has dropped off
a bit, but his defensive play has been brought up.
The reason we are
specifically looking at the 2015-16 season is to specifically
highlight the void of Trouba’s absence and where Enstrom can be
utilized to make up for Trouba. We will look at how Enstrom has primarily been used and make some suggestions on how he may be better used.
122.62 minutes on the penalty kill, when down a single player in the
His CF% when playing
on the man disadvantage was 7.92%, slightly better than Stuarts for
second worst out of the Jets’ defenders who played on the penalty
kill. Corsi measures all shot attempts directed at a net and Fenwick measures all unblocked shot attempts. Enstrom had a Corsi against of 136 and a Fenwick against of
138. Which suggests he is not good at preventing unblocked shot
attempts from being directed to the net.
Enstrom does have going for him in 4v5 situations, is the low shot
attempt numbers against. Which suggests two things, when he is on the
ice, the penalty unit is better at suppressing shot attempts and/or
the penalty killing unit is better at keeping the puck puck out of
their own end, but not driving possession into the opposing team’s
In fact, Enstrom has
not been on the ice for a Jets short handed goal. But, that is okay.
The penalty kill is not tasked with generating offence. Offence when
playing on the penalty kill is a bonus, but the primary job is to
prevent goals from being scored on your net.
In single man
advantage situations (5v4), Enstrom fared pretty well. He was able to
direct 111 shots towards the net. However, he was only on the ice for
2 powerplay goals. This was with over 108 minutes of 5v4 man advantage ice time.
While, he is able to
keep the puck in the opposing team’s end, Enstrom’s ability to
produce offence on the powerplay is fairly non-existent. The powerplay has been a sore spot for the Jets and needs to have defenceman who can produce more offence working the blue line. This may be a good area to experiment with rookie Josh Morrissey.
The issue for the
Jets will be how to appropriately use Enstrom. He has decent numbers
in 5v5 situations, nothing flashy, but the numbers provide more than
enough reason to have him on the ice in 5v5 situations.
Same with penalty
kill situations. Enstrom only played in 71 games over the 2015-16
season, but he had some of the best numbers on the penalty kill. With
Jacob Trouba not on the roster, the next defenceman who played the
most on the penalty kill was Mark Stuart.
No To Stuart
If you have been following Jets for a while, you will have
noticed how much Mark Stuart’s play has been placed under the microscope and for good reason. He needs to play less because there
are better players on the Jets’ roster and his play is atrocious. The
fact that Stuart could see increased penalty kill time with Trouba’s
absence is plain disturbing.
Lets take a look at
what Stuart’s statistics look like when he is on the penalty kill.
When the Jets were down a player, Stuart had 188.84 minutes of ice
time, which is second behind Trouba. However, the amount of time
spent on the penalty kill would have been higher for Mark Stuart
would have been higher if he did not miss a portion of the season
with injuries. He only played 64 games.
That is disturbing.
Relying on CF% in
man disadvantage situations can be a little misleading because, but
it gives us a glimpse at who is good at keeping the puck out of the
Jets’ defensive zone. Stuart has the worst CF% on the Jets in 4v5
situations and that sits at 7.28%.
Over the 2015-16
season, the Jets had 28 goals scored against them on the man
disadvantage when Stuart was playing in a penalty killing role. That
is the most out of all the Jets. On top of this, when you compare
Corsi and Fenwick Against, Stuart looks even worse.
In 4v5 situations, had a Corsi Against off 331 and a
Fenwick Against of 244. That means when Stuart is on the ice, about
74% of the shot attempts go unblocked. Now, Stuart is not the only
penalty killer on the ice, but out of all of the defencemen who
played on the penalty kill for the Jets, Stuart had the second
highest Fenwick Against.
stats would be higher if Stuart did not miss 18 games.
If the Jets hope to
have a successful penalty kill for the 2016-17 season, they need to
play Stuart less and not succumb to the temptation of using him to
replace Trouba’s minutes.
The Jets need to be
wise with who they use on the blue line. Losing a talented defender
like Trouba is a huge whole that has to be filled and cannot be
filled with warm bodies. We will see if Josh Morrissey is up to the
task of filling Trouba’s shoes.
In the mean time,
Paul Maurice and the rest of the coaching staff need Enstrom. He is good
in transition and suppressing shots and should play considerably more 5v5. Enstrom should play less on the powerplay, and more on the penalty kill.
Despite being quiet and unheard from,
Enstrom might be the most important piece on the Jets’ blue line right
now, which is why they need to use him more.
(Thanks to Corsica for the use of advanced stats.)