Explaining Jokinen's Terrible Last Quarter

Kent Wilson
July 04 2012 12:18PM

 

 

A day or two after Olli Jokinen signed with the Winnipeg Jets, I saw a lot of chatter about this last 15-games or so amongst fans and pundits on twitter. The big Fin had something of a comeback season last year, scoring 61-points (second on the team) but there's no question he had a dreadful final quarter - starting March 13, he managed just three points in the last 13 games and was a cumulative -14.

That being the Flames "stretch drive" for the playoffs, there was a lot of speculation about Jokinen's health and character to explain his horrible downturn in results. The truth is, however, one doesn't need to turn to health or character issues to sort things out - Jokinen merely hit a dry patch.

The best way to investigate what happened is to look at Jokinen's shot metrics before and during the downturn. If he suddenly started to get grossly outshot at even strength, then we can start discussing injuries or lack of intestinal fortitude. However, that turns out not to be the case:

Games 1-69      
corsi ES SV% ES SH% PDO
0.453 92.4 10.4 102.8

Games 70-82      
corsi ES SV% ES SH% PDO
0.482 83.5 3.6 87.1

Corsi is ratio of all shots directed at the net for and against at even strength while a player is on the ice. The SV% ad SH% columns show Jokinen's on-ice percentages at even strength as well. PDO is the short name for the sum of those percentages.

As you can see, Jokinen's possession (corsi) ratio actually improved in the final segment of the season. What cratered on him was the percentages - Kipper went from stopping over 92% of the shots while Jokinen was on the ice to only 83.5% (!) which is worse than the average PK SV% for most 'tenders.

In addition, Curtis Glencross' magical ability to score on every 4th shot disappeared in the final 15-games or so and that combo's above average on-ice shooting percentage fell to a ghastly 3.6%.

Discussion

As has been established, PDO is mostly a measure of luck in the NHL and tends to regress heavily towards the league mean of 100 over time. Jokinen and Glencross were often deployed against other teams big guns by Brent Sutter and they were largely outshot and outchanced in that role. For the first three quarters of the year, they survived because the bounces more or less worked for them (PDO = 102.3). Unfortunately, regression hit them square in the face from games 70-82, so even though they marginally imrpoved their possession rates, it wasn't enough to overcome those suddenly lousy percentages.

So, no, Jokinen's stagger near the finish line probably wasn't an indication that he folds under pressure or was battling a debilitating injury - it was merely a bad run of bounces which can afflict pretty much anyone in small samples.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.