Josh Jooris is the player you want in your bottom six

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what Josh Jooris has done to warrant being a healthy scratch so many games this season. 

It has nothing to do with him being the first feel good story of the 2014-15 season, a season filled with seemingly nothing but. Prospects surprising you into an NHL spot is nice and all, but it doesn’t really mean anything unless said prospects can actually play.

Jooris is one of those guys who can, though. He isn’t anybody who was really on anybody’s radar, as evidenced by his being undrafted. But he’s still only 25 years old, and in just his second season, which is young enough for him to prove he deserves to be a part of this team night in and night out.

Is Jooris ever going to be a major scorer? In all likelihood, no. He scored 12 goals and 24 points through 60 games in his rookie year: a .40 point per game pace. This season, he only has three goals and seven points through 29: .24 points per game. Part of that is due to his reduced ice time – his P60 is actually up from 1.19 to 1.39 this season – but the point is, Jooris probably isn’t ever going to be relied on for scoring.

What he does, though, is play with intelligence and energy: enough so that he drives possession forward. What he does with the puck may not cause it to go in the net, but it has a greater chance of doing so, considering his actions on the ice put the puck closer to the opponent’s net than his own.

Here’s the Flames’ forward usage and corsi chart, via War on Ice:

download

The basic gist of the chart is the bluer your circle is, the more you drive possession relative to the rest of the team. The redder it is, the more the puck goes against you. All this while the placement on the chart indicates a forward’s usage: the higher up you are, the tougher the competition you face; the further to the left you are, the more you start in your own end.

Top players will often be found higher up, so take a look down at the bottom half of the chart, where you’ll find guys whose names you associate with bottom six players.

Only one of them is blue. Only one of them is actually driving puck north, and that guy is Jooris. Amongst his peers, who are also facing easier competition, he’s the only one who isn’t seeing play go more against him than for him.

True, he isn’t starting in the defensive zone as often as some of his compatriots, but he has improved on that front. In his rookie season, his relative offensive zone starts were +4.49%; this season, they’re -2.39%, and he hasn’t seen a drop in corsi percentages (rather, they’ve increased, albeit marginally, from 47.61% to 48.35%). It’s possible he could handle tougher zone starts and shift to an even more defensive role, but we won’t find out if he isn’t afforded the same opportunities as others, despite proving time and time again that at absolute minimum, he is capable of playing at this level.

He hasn’t been afforded the opportunities Joe Colborne has this season, for example. Markus Granlund is getting more of a chance than he is, even though he appears to be getting killed out there. He’s roughly on par with Mason Raymond as far as chances go: a player considered overpaid and who went through waivers unclaimed; an older player who has shown less both in scoring and in possession.

Jooris doesn’t stand out as much as other forwards. He’s not the insane talent Johnny Gaudreau is, he’s not as great as driving possession as the deep blue trio of Mikael, Michael, and Micheal (!) are. He’s just quietly doing his job on the bottom six – and he’s doing a better job of it than several of his teammates.

Not everyone is going to be a superstar. But your lineup still needs capable forwards from top to bottom and, well, Jooris fits the bill. He can be bumped into the top six if need be, he proved that in his rookie year. In the meantime, he’s, at worst, a functional forward – more functional than some of his peers, more energetic, more creative and driving. 

The Flames already lost Paul Byron, another ideal bottom six forward type, for nothing. There’s no need to potentially head down the road to making the same mistake twice.

  • The Last Big Bear

    NHL level talent? Check.

    Cheap? Check.

    That’s really all I’m looking for in a bottom 6 player.

    Filler players making well under $1m, who aren’t a liability in the finge minutes that they play, so the team can spend huge money on huge players who play 20+ mins in clutch situations.

  • everton fc

    This one has always baffled me. I am a big Jooris fan to the point that I would like to see him get an audition for the top line. The reality is that it is not going to be the best player that fits on this line rather it will be one who can keep up (check), drives possession (check), and has good chemistry (off the ice – check).

    The only issue I have with Jooris, is he gets knocked off the puck fairly easy at times along the boards. He does not know how to spin off the players like some of the smaller players can (perfect example was in last night’s game when Johhny spun off the Jersey player to set up the 2nd Calgary goal.

    I am worried that Calgary is going to pull a Byron (let him walk) with Jooris becore they realize what they have. Jooris is smart enough to do what is necessary to get the puck to Johnny and Monny. I am sure Johnny would love to see his roomate out of the pressbox and given a bigger role.

    i can’t think of another top line in the NHL that has a revolving door on Right Wing…it just is not healthy. It is taking its toll on both Johnny (slightly0 and Monny (significantly). I remember in an interview Johnny indicated how tough it is not having the same linemates. He has been able to manage better than a point per game without any consistency in Right Wing…which is amazing.

    • everton fc

      I agree about Jooris. We are in a rebuild. Or so we’re told. Let this kid play. Put him in multiple situations and scenarios. They are doing the same with Colborne, and even Granlund. Why is Jooris on the sidelines so much?

      Unless he doesn’t practice hard enough. Hartley has benched guys for this in the past. The fact his Johnny’s roommate – should be a chance at on-ice chemistry there, no?

  • MattyFranchise

    4th line minutes with Matt Stajan. All numbers 5v5:

    Josh Jooris and Matt Stajan together
    TOI: 102:35 GF%: 71.4 CF%: 46.9 OZone%: 29.2

    Joe Colborne and Matt Stajan together
    TOI: 226:31 GF%: 53.3 CF%: 44.5 OZone%: 27.8

    Stajan appears to be the most common line mate for the two of them and Jooris is clearly doing much better in very similar circumstances, especially when it comes to putting pucks in the net.

    If Jooris is allowed to walk and Colborne stays I’m probably gonna have a seizure.

    • Derzie

      It’s because this chart is relative possession. Half red half blue. Blue means your are in the top half of your team although you may be blood red blob relative to the league.

    • MattyFranchise

      I’ll have a go at this:

      Smid’s TOI: 138:17 CF%: 46.9 GF%: 33.3 OZone%: 49.9

      Just for fun I’ll look at his WOWY stats for his two most common partners like I did for Jooris and Colborne:

      Smid with Wideman:
      TOI: 66:24 CF%: 39.5 GF%: 33.3 OZone%: 51.5

      Smid with Engelland:
      TOI: 42:41 CF%: 52.9 GF%: 50 OZone%: 52.2

      And for those curious, here’s Wideman and Engelland together:
      TOI: 203:16 CF%: 38.2 GF%: 55.6 OZone%: 50.4

      All stats above are from puckalytics.com

      From war-on-ice.com Smid’s individual scoring chance stats compared to Wideman and Engelland:
      Smid SCF%: 53.3 SCF%Rel: 1.94 SC+/-: +9
      Wideman SCF%: 46.9 SCF%Rel: -3.08 SC+/-: -39
      Engelland SCF%: 50.58 SCF%Rel: 2.93 SC+/-: +4

      So uhh… Wideman kinda sucks, eh?

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Hartley likes hard workers, and has praised Jooris in past for his energy,etc so perhaps the GM is forcing him to play Colby and Granlund more for either trade-showcasing or shameful “lets tank and get Matthews” reasons.

    But actually Hartley strangely likes big guys (Colby, Bollg) and probably wants to assess Granlunds value to team in future.

  • MattyFranchise

    In view of our small but talented top 6 it is critical that the Flames bottom 6 be bigger/heavier…the Flames are being physically outmatched with the big teams…as for Jooris I would like to see him remain as a Flames as a role player much like we did with Byron…this kid has heart, speed and can fill that role capably….

  • smith

    I do wonder were Calgary would be if there was some reasonable player usage. I am sure we could find several games we lost due to bad plays from Russel, Colborne, Wideman etc. also how many more would we have won with better PK . I.e. Byron, Jooris.

    Give Hamilton more minutes, along with Frolik and Jooris and less to Russel, Wideman, Colborne and they would all be better.

    Combine this with the aweful power play and it is hard to not question the coaching.