Sunday, January 19, 2014

(Sort Of) Midseason Report: Grades for the Caps

The halfway point of the Capitals season has come and gone, with the Caps crashing down to fourth in the Metro after being second during the first of these. How do the grades look now?

In case you forgot how I do these, I grade the offense, defense, and goaltending based on league stats, then choose a top performer from each. So without further ado...

Let the grades begin (you see what I did there?)

First-Quarter Grade: 90% (A-)
Midterm Grade: 83% (B)
I was surprised that the Caps goaltenders received such a high grade, but it's hard to argue when the team save percentage is tied for 10th in the league. It's a drop off from 5th in the league after the first quarter, but still comparatively good considering the ghastly amount of rubber being sent their way. Still, the inconsistent play of Braden Holtby and the injury/little playing time for Michal Neuvirth has put lots of pressure on Phillip Grubauer, who is arguably the only goaltender who is playing well right now for Washington.
Top Performer: Phillip Grubauer
This is so obvious it doesn't even require analysis. Grubauer has a .931 save percentage and a 2.22 GAA, both by far the best on the team. He was not good against Columbus, but considering how well he has played so far, there is no way Holtby or Neuvirth deserves this over him.

First-Quarter Grade: 68% (D)
Midterm Grade: 63% (F)
I reserve F's for the bottom three teams in a certain stat, usually, and the Caps are currently third-worst in Shots Against per Game. They are one of only three teams giving up more than 30 shots against per game, the other two being Toronto and Buffalo. If possible, the defense has just gotten worse in the last quarter of play. Much of this boils down to lack of depth combined with terrible decisions by Adam Oates, such as continually starting John Erskine and scratching Steven Oleksy in favor of Connor Carrick. Still, whoever is playing, this team has enough talent to be giving up less than thirty shots per game, and definitely not in the same league as Buffalo and Toronto.
Top Performer: John Carlson
Pretty much everybody else has struggled mightily this year, but Carlson is chugging along. Only Mike Green has better Corsi and Fenwick and has been playing regularly, but he has had very obvious disparages in coverage. Ultimately, Carlson has by far been our best all around D-man so far.

First-Quarter Grade: 90% (A-)
Midterm Grade: 80% (B-)
The offense has really cooled down as of late. A combination of extremely good opposite goaltending and lack of pressure and terrible Fenwick has forced Adam Oates into making some pretty bad line combinations, which have just compounded the problem. The Capitals as a team have only 133 goals, Alex Ovechkin scoring 34 of them. Yup. The Capitals have dressed 27 forwards and defenseman, and 26 of them have combined for 99 goals. That is absolutely pathetic. Alex Ovechkin's grade in a A+ for sure, while the rest of the team is probably hovering around a D+. The Caps really need to get OV some help.
Top Performer: Alex Ovechkin
Honestly, it's not even close. I chose Nick Backstrom for the first quarter, but he hasn't been doing all that great recently without OV. As I said earlier, the Capitals would have 99 team goals without Ovechkin, barely over two goals a game as the team. OV has no doubt been the top performer for the Caps.

As you can see, this last quarter of the season has been much worse than the first. Hopefully the team can step it up.  

1 comment:

  1. Finally, a well-needed win! While by no stretch this one game affects the stats above, it could be a turning point for the team right now...