Why The Winnipeg Jets Should Protect Mason Appleton

Protect Mason Appleton?

Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Winnipeg Jets will have a tough time trying to decide who to protect as we head closer to the NHL’s Seattle Expansion Draft.  The expansion draft options for Chevy and the Winnipeg Jets are to either protect seven forwards, three defencemen and a goalie or, they can protect eight skaters and one goalie.

He will most likely decide to use the 7-3-1 protection format.  With this format there are a lot of tough choices to be made.  The goalie is the only real gimme pick with Connor Hellebuyck.  On the defence the three will end up being a mix of Josh Morrissey, Neal Pionk, Dylan DeMelo and maybe even Logan Stanley.  For the forwards there are a couple of gimmees and some tough choices.  The ones that are guaranteed to be protected are Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Nik Ehlers, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kyle Connor and Adam Lowry (With the recent extension).  This leaves only one guy left to be protected.  The options for the last protection are Mathieu Perreault, Paul Stastny, Andrew Copp or Mason Appleton.  Perreault and Stastny are UFA so they don’t have to be protected unless they are offered contract extensions before July 21.

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The reasons that Appleton should be protected over these other three, are …

1. Age: 

Mason Appleton has a large age advantage over the other potential picks.  Appleton was drafted in 2015 and is only twenty-five-years-old.

Some may be wondering why age is an important factor.  Well, The Jets have a somewhat young team and if you are looking at which player you want to keep, you will see that someone young will generally still have a lot left to give at the NHL level. 

The other options range in age with Copp at 26 (turns 27 in June), Perreault at 33 and Paul Stastny at 35.

2. Skillset

Mason Appleton brings a lot to the table whether it is on the penalty kill or a clutch moment in the defensive end. Appleton can also bring a lot on the offensive side of the puck.  Appleton is second among Jets forwards in “Even Strength Defense Goals Above replacement”, only behind Trevor Lewis.  Appleton is also sixth among forwards in “Even Strength Offense Goals Above Replacement”.  For the penalty kill he is 3rd among forwards in “Shorthanded Defense Goals Above Replacement”. 

For more about Goals Above Replacement: click here

If you could only protect one, who would you choose?

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3. Stats 

Mason Appleton is having his best season yet as a Winnipeg Jet.  He has put up 9-13-22 in 48 games with the Jets this season.  Copp has 36 points, Stastny has 27 points and Perreault has 17 points. 

But, if you look at Even Strength points you can see that Appleton’s numbers look a lot better with 18 even strength points.  Copp has 20, Perreault has 12 and Stastny has 19.

With the even strength points there are still some flaws because, points generally mean not that much.  You should also be looking at the primary points.  Because, with the primary points it shows that you are either A scoring the goal or B having the secondary assist.  This is important because if a player is just passing the puck off and then that player gives it to the goal scorer it is not as helpful. 

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So, that’s why we can look at primary points at even strength.  Appleton has 7 even strength goals and primary assists for 13 primary points.  Copp has 6 even strength goals and 8 primary assists for 14 primary points. 

We can isolate the stats even more to account for ice time or lack of icetime in Appletons case.  For this we take their primary points per 60 (P1/60).  Appleton’s P1/60 is 1.28, Copp has 1.29 P1/60, Perreault has 0.97 and Stastny is at 0.61 P1/60.

To Conclude, Mason Appleton and Andrew Copp are very similar players.  If you account for ice time and even strength primary points, the difference is a mere hundredth of a decimal place but Appleton is younger and is just breaking into the league and we can expect much more from him in the near future.

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