Paul Maurice on the Winnipeg Jets use of analytics

Analytics are currently a hot topic in the hockey community. Back in March Rick Ralph asked Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice on the types of metrics the team uses.

Maurice on analytics:

 “We have fairly detailed analytics on synergies; people playing together, who they play against, and minutes played. (This is) so we have an idea of what our group is facing as a line, or as a defense pairing. (Some things we look at are) what they’re generating in terms of shots from different parts of the ice and what they give up in terms of shots. You can tell who a line is playing against and what that line is getting for and against through the course of a game.

(Of) all the analytics that you look at, the best thing I’ve always found is you just go through the game. You look at it shift by shift, who you’re playing against, chances for, chances against. You keep a log of all your information and build a database that way on what’s happening over the course of a game. Some of it is in game, (but) a lot of it, the stuff that I trust the most is stuff that we’ll do in between games.”

Maurice continued

“Some of the stuff just can’t be used as fact. You can say that someone is giving up more shots, but at the end of the day they aren’t giving up any goals so there is a value to what they’re doing.

(For example) I would know Mark Scheifele. We would rate the quality of his chances, the quality of shots, where the shots are coming from. I would know that he was at the high end of both ranges. When he was on the ice there was far more things happening in the offensive zone and far less happening in the defensive zone. I would know that by the stats. But you wouldn’t need to look at the stats to know that. I think at the end of the day, there hasn’t been too many times where a stat was right on and was the opposite of what we would think.”

While the Jets do use some advanced metrics, Coach Maurice says they are only part of the decision making process.

 “It’s a piece of a decision. I would say that 90-95% of what you see is what the stats are telling you anyway. Yeah I knew that already just from watching the game. Then there’s some aberrations, you’ll see some synergies where these two guys are supposed to be really good together or they look like they’re playing great together, but the other team seems to be shooting the puck at your goaltender alot more than you’re shooting it at theirs when they’re on the ice together.”

Do the players ever look at the stat sheet? Rick asked Blake Wheeler was asked if he used statistics to help his game.

 “Not really, it’s a feel. You know when you’re going good, when the team’s going good or when you’re not.”

But Wheeler says that video is a tool that he uses to help his game

 “It helps to see it; they say the big eye don’t lie. But as players you know when you’re on your game or not on your game. It’s pretty cut and dry, there’s not a lot of grey area there.”

Rick Ralph discusses the analytics used by the Winnipeg Jets

The Rona Roundtable hosted by Rick Ralph airs weekdays from 11am-1pm on TSN 1290 Winnipeg.