Analyzing Kyle Connor's Slow Start/Quick Team Update
Before we get into Kyle Connor, news just broke that Josh Morrissey, Mason Appleton, Blake Wheeler, Morgan Barron and Pierre-Luc Dubois are not on the ice for practice. Jansen Harkins was called up on an emergency basis today, as Logan Stanley and Nik Ehlers remained on IR. The Jets are going to be very, very thin if none of these players return before tomorrows game. Is there a chance we see the likes of Brad Lambert, Daniel Torgersson, Mikey Eyssimont and Ville Heinola called up? It is certainly possible.
Through the first nine games of the NHL regular season, Kyle Connor has one goal and four points. After netting 47 goals and 93 points last year, this is incredibly surprising.
What is important, is to look at whether his game has fallen off, or if luck hasn't been on his side, or a mixture of both.
The Winnipeg Jets are 5-3-1 through those nine games, which is good enough for second in the division. Connor has been playing on the top line with Mark Scheifele and Mason Appleton, since the injury to Nik Ehlers.
The Jets are depending on Kyle Connor to step up, and Mark Scheifele is off to a great start in the goals department, that rate isn't sustainable and will need to be made up by Connor. Personally, if I was a betting man, I would have said 50 goals for Kyle Connor is easy money for this season. I hope he can get there.
On Ice Stats
Kyle Connor has a career average shooting percentage of 14.9%. He is currently shooting 3.0%. That number is going to go up, there is no doubt about it. If he was shooting his average, he would have 5 goals.
Shooting percentage can be tough to gauge how lucky or unlucky a player is, but 3% is nothing short of impossible to continue at. Shot count, however, tends to be a dictation of how a players game is changing. Last season, Connor took 317 shots in 79 games, averaging 4 shots a game. He isn't shooting as much, but he is still taking well above his career average has shown.
According to MoneyPuck, Connor's expected goals sits at 5.1. He should have 5 goals, which equates perfectly with his average shooting percentage. This here, proves it is just unlucky, snakebitten, bad voo-doo, black magic keeping the puck out of the net for Connor. But for fun, let's look at some other stats.
Connor has a Corsi For percentage of 54.6%, which is a great start. His Fenwick For percentage is a bit higher at 57.2%. The Jets are clearly generating a lot more offense with him on the ice, than they are allowing.
The one thing I wish that would change right now, it seeing Connor reunited with Pierre-Luc Dubois. That duo was unstoppable last year, and the Jets, even with Ehlers out, have the personnel to make this work.
If the Jets decided to go with a top line of Perfetti-Scheifele-Ehlers/Appleton, and a second line of Connor-Dubois-Wheeler, they would be very well aligned. I might worry a little big about the defensive effort on that second line, but I think it would get the offence clicking again, and give them more possession time.
All in all, I have no doubt we will see another fantastic year from Connor, especially if the Jets keep scoring as they are. How do you feel about Connor's start to the year? Is there enough effort every night? Is it just bad luck? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Take care!