Tuesday, June 4, 2013

End Of Season Grades: 2013 Version

Once the season starts, I'll be grading the Caps at each quarter of the season, then the postseason whenever it ends. They'll be graded by section, with one 'top performer' in each section as well as a valedictorian for the season. So without further ado...

Here are the grades for the 2013 edition of the Washington Capitals.

Grade: C (73%)
I sort of grade on a curve; whoever is smack dab in the middle gets a 75%. The Caps were 18th in the league in goals against this year, placing them just under the median (15th-16th). This placement is a little bit misleading, as the Caps goaltenders had some bad games at the beginning, but expectations were high for Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth, and they did not really live up to expectations. Holtby did well in the playoffs (except for the 5-0 loss in Game 7), but it is not enough to get them above the pack.
Top Performer: Braden Holtby
Well, duh. Holtby had a fantastic second half of the year and good playoffs. On top of that, when you play in 75% of the games and your team makes the playoffs, you have to be given some credit.

Grade: B (83%)
The best stat for the D is 5-on-5 goals for/against. The Caps were 10th in the league with 1.07, well above the median of 1.02-1.03. Of course, the D had some under performers this year (Jeff Schultz, Roman Hamrlik before he was released), but overall, when you still have a top 10 5-on-5 F/A, your D has done well offensively and defensively.
Top Performer: Steven Oleksy
Oleksy is probably not who you'd think of as the top performer on a D corps which includes John Carlson, Mike Green, and Karl Alzner, but Oleksy played some fantastic hockey this year. He brought much needed grit and energy to an injury-plagued D and was able to rack up respectable numbers as well. Not only did he help out offensively, he was also willing to drop the gloves when asked. Oleksy worked the hardest on the D this year, and that's good enough for me (besides, don't forget that pass in Game 1).

Grade: A (94%)
The Caps forwards did not start out all that well, but they ended 4th in the league in goals for, only behind Pittsburgh, Chicago and Tampa Bay. After a (excruciatingly) slow start, this group ended with 3.04 goals per game, tied with Montreal. Much of these came in the stretch run of the year, when goals are harder to come by, and therefore more important. In the playoffs, they fell apart a bit, but in the end of the regular season, the top two lines produced, the bottom two lines did a little bit of everything, and all-in-all there was a great effort. This was probably the best group on this team.
Top Performer: Alex Ovechkin
When you can lead your team in goals and points after 'vanishing' for the first half of the year, you deserve to be the top performer. When you can lead the league in goals and finish top 3 in points, well, you're not just the best player, on your unit, or maybe even your team; you are one of the best players in the league.

So who is the valedictorian? Vote on the poll to the side of the page. I'll combine the fan consensus and my vote and tell you all in a week.

Until then,

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