Photo: Mitchell Layton

With eight games left to play, the Capitals are two points out of a wild card spot. Columbus (reminder: apparently now they’re good a team) and Detroit have 82 points to Washington’s 80. In the final two weeks of the regular season, the Caps must close the gap.

They’re not going to do it playing like they have been. According to Sports Club Stats, the Caps have a one-in-four chance of making the playoffs right now. That’s a fun coincidence, because they also have just one forward line out of four that doesn’t look like hot garbage.

In this week’s snapshot, we take another look at the Caps’ chances of making the playoffs and suggest one painfully obvious way to improve them. (Hint: it’s in the headline.)

These are the numbers as of noon on a rainy Sunday, March 30th. The sample is just 5-on-5 play while the score is close. That means within one goal in the first two periods and tied in the third. That way special teams, blowouts, and comebacks don’t color the data. Stats of note are highlighted in powderpuff pink and discussed below.

See previous snapshots: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5, week 6, week 7, week 8, week 9, week 10, week 11, week 12, week 13, week 14, week 15, week 16, week 17, week 18, week 19, week 20, week 21, week 22, week 23

Forwards

Player Pos GP TOI GF GA SA% Sh% Sv% PDO ZS%
Aaron Volpatti L 40 195.9 3 5 39.3% 4.6% 94.7% 99.4 52.7%
Alex Ovechkin L 70 633.2 19 28 49.6% 5.6% 92% 97.6 60.3%
Brooks Laich C 51 397 12 13 46.5% 7.1% 93.3% 100.4 51.6%
Dustin Penner R 12 80.5 1 0 51% 2.6% 100% 102.6 48.7%
Eric Fehr R 65 516.2 18 21 50.1% 7.1% 91.8% 98.9 45.8%
Evgeny Kuznetsov C 9 69.7 2 4 44.7% 7.1% 90.2% 97.4 51.3%
Jason Chimera L 74 577.1 30 28 46.8% 10.3% 91.3% 101.7 44%
Jay Beagle C 54 334.1 4 7 48% 3.1% 95.1% 98.2 51.4%
Joel Ward R 74 558.9 29 25 48.3% 10.4% 91.6% 102 45.2%
Marcus Johansson C 73 609.1 18 27 48.4% 6.4% 91.6% 91.6 53.3%
Michael Latta C 17 67.6 3 4 48.1% 10.3% 88.2% 98.6 48.5%
Mikhail Grabovski C 50 432.6 20 14 50.5% 8.7% 93.9% 102.5 51.7%
Nicklas Backstrom C 74 653.8 21 31 48.6% 6.3% 91.5% 97.8 56.9%
Tom Wilson R 74 357.7 10 10 45.9% 7.5% 93.9% 101.4 55.9%
Troy Brouwer R 74 591 17 18 47.5% 6.8% 93.9% 100.7 48.5%

Defense

Player Pos GP TOI GF GA SA% Sh% Sv% PDO ZS%
Nate Schmidt D 29 283.1 12 10 50.6% 8.5% 93.4% 101.8 55.9%
John Erskine D 36 327.5 13 14 45.7% 8.7% 91.9% 100.5 47.4%
John Carlson D 74 737.8 22 30 46.4% 6.3% 92.4% 98.7 49.9%
Karl Alzner D 74 736.8 23 25 47.2% 6.7% 93.4% 100.1 50%
Mike Green D 66 749.4 26 27 53.1% 6.8% 92.4% 99.2 55.3%
Connor Carrick D 30 256.4 6 10 43.5% 5.5% 93.3% 98.8 47.2%
Dmitry Orlov D 46 533.5 16 21 54.2% 5.9% 91% 97 52.3%
Jack Hillen D 13 116.3 2 6 38.7% 5.4% 92.3% 97.7 50%

Observations

  • The Capitals’ team-level puck possession (i.e. even-strength shot-attempt percentage when the score is close) is unchanged this week: stable at 49.31%. I consider that a meager victory since the Caps played two very good possession teams for a total of about 41 minutes in the sample. That said, I have completely abandoned hope that the Caps will be a 50+ team this season. The Caps get decisively outshot; they have more in common with the Leafs and the Panthers than a Cup contender.
  • It was a light week, with only two games on the schedule, so most of the players saw only about ten minutes in the sample. The team’s elite players, like Jay Beagle, saw a bit more with around twelve minutes.
  • That was a joke.
  • Jason Chimera and Joel Ward have skated together during 5v5 for 7 and a half hours this season. They’ve been outshot during that time, but they’ve managed to outscore their opponents with 51.4 percent of goals belonging to the Caps. When they’re apart (less than two hours total), they’ve fared poorly in possession– hinting that there’s some genuine chemistry there, but I have to think they’re getting a bit lucky. That shouldn’t take away from their line being the only one of Oates’ four that is not inherently broken; they do a lot of things right– particularly skating with the puck through neutral and actually generating shot attempts in the offensive zone.
  • On the other hand, Alex Ovechkin! Since March 16th, Ovi’s been taking shifts with Jay Beagle. He hasn’t been on the ice for a 5v5 goal since then (though, to be fair, it had already been three weeks at that point: Ovi’s last 5v5 success was on February 27th against the freaking Panthers. I don’t expect any changes to the top line for Sunday’s game against the Predators. Oates.
  • Nick Backstrom has seen better results than Ovi on the scoreboard, but they belie how thoroughly outshot his second line is. In the last month, Backstrom has outshot the competition just once. That was yesterday. In seven of those games he’s been under 40%. The second line is just not working. I don’t expect any changes to the second line for Sundays’s game against the Predators. Oates.
  • You’re probably gonna ask, so I’ll just tell you: when Ovi and Backstrom skate together during 5v5 this season, the Caps get 50.5% of the shot attempts.
  • Here’s a fun game I just made up: who is the most screwed over Capitals player? Obviously there’s Erat, but you could also make an argument for Dustin Penner, acquired to be a top-six forward but instead serving strictly fourth line minutes. Maybe Jack Hillen and Brooks Laich, two players whose capabilities we don’t really know because their last couple seasons have been obliterated by injury. And there’s Tom Wilson, whose crummy usage in his is rookie year is unprecedented. But naw, it’s gotta be one of the two guys at the left of this chart.

chart_1 (5)

  • This chart shows how the Caps’ share of shot attempts and goals do– or do not– line up for each player. At left you see guys who see few fewer goals than you’d expect given their shot-attempt differential. Far left: Alex Ovechkin, with his even possession but awful 35% goal ratio, which we’ve already talked about. Second is my candidate for unluckiest bro in a Caps uniform: Dmitry Orlov. Orlov has tilted the ice better than any Caps player this season during close games and overall 5v5 (SA%). But his on-ice save percentage is a lowly 91%. Is that his fault? Some say yes (“Dude, use your eyeballs; lazy mistakes, he’s a defensive liability!”), but please consider this: Among defenders over the last five years, John Erskine has the 7th highest save percentage. Defenders certainly have some role in limiting dangerous attempts, but we tend to overstate how much of a role they have in their goalie’s save percentage.

Alright, onto the stretch run. Here are the remaining eight games for the Jackets and Wings– with each team’s shot-attempt differential during close games. First, Blue Jackets (50.84%):

  • Avalanche (46.83%)
  • Flyers (48.22%)
  • Blackhawks (54.91%)
  • Islanders (48.55%)
  • Coyotes (49.35%)
  • Stars (51.96%)
  • Lightning (51.58%)
  • Panthers (49.03%)

And here they are for the Red Wings (51.46%):

  • Lightning (51.58%)
  • Bruins (54.17%)
  • Sabres (41.27%)
  • Canadiens (48.11%)
  • Sabres (41.27%)
  • Penguins (51.03%)
  • Hurricanes (48.04%)
  • Blues (52.12%)

Now, on a game-by-game basis, a team’s possession score isn’t a strong predictor. This could still go a million different ways. There are some gimme games in here– two against Buffalo for Detroit for example– but it’s going come down to who gets hot in the  final weeks. And who gets hot is largely an accident of probability.

That said– if a certain coach is looking to help the hotness along, maybe it’s time for Nicky and Alex to play together.

Glossary

  • GP: Games played
  • TOI: Time on ice
  • GF: Capitals goals for which the player was on the ice
  • GA: Opponent goals for which the player was on the ice
  • SA%: Percentage of shot attempts (from both teams) that went towards the opponent’s net, excluding blocked shots
  • Sh%: Capitals’ shooting percentage while the player was on the ice
  • Sv%: Capitals’ goalie save percentage while the player was on the ice
  • PDO: The sum of Sh% and Sv%, a number that regresses closely to 100 in larger samples; a proxy for luck, in a sense– i.e. high ≈ lucky
  • ZS%: The share of shifts the player started in the offensive zone, excluding neutral-zone starts; data not limited to close games.

Thanks to ExtraSkater.com for the stats.

Tagged with:
 
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • Owen Johnson

    As if today weren’t cloudy, cold and rainy enough.

  • Daniel

    I am starting to think it’d be better for this team if they lost seven in a row now, get rid of all the garbage, and start over next year with a thought-through, methodical approach. They give Oates a lot of credit for figuring out Ovi and turning him back into a 50+ goal scorer. But those pathetic 5-on-5 numbers tell that it’s much better to have a 25-goal Sasha on a team that can grind down them Bruins and Kings.

  • Peteo

    I was at the game yesterday, and I couldn’t help myself in that I made multiple loud comments to no one in particular about our Top Line Center Jay Beagle. When the game was over, I yelled “Fire Oates!” and the guy in front of me turned around and we proceeded to get into a conversation where he tried to convince me that it’s not Oates’ fault and that the lines are fine. When I mentioned Jay Beagle as 1C, his response was “Well, who else are we going to put there?” I was actually dumbfounded by that response. When I mentioned Nicky or Johansson or even Kuznetsov, he came back with the typical “Oates wants someone who will play North-South hockey. and Johansson and Kuznetsov won’t do that.”

    Can we please stop over thinking this into the ground? We have 4th liners on the 1st line, potential 1st liners on the 4th line, wingers playing center, centers playing winger. At some point, Occam’s Razor applies, and no, Adam Oates, you’re not the smartest person in the room.

  • Josh Carey

    Did you hit him? Preferably hard.

  • Peteo

    He was with his kid, who appeared to be about 6 years old. No need for Caps fan on Caps fan violence in any case. But wow, I was really flabbergasted. “Who else are we going to put there?” You’ve got to be kidding.

  • Harjot Singh

    I don’t know who blame anymore besides Oates. The Gm has made his case to stay. He made the trades he needed to and got the poison out of the locker room(Marty Erat). In my young 5 years of watching hockey I have NEVER I MEAN NEVER heard of 3 players requesting a trade in one season. The Caps are literally 2 d men and a new system away from being cup contenders. When he called up 3 goalies in the middle of the season you knew everything was going go downhill from there. This comment might be all over the place but there is so many faults in Oates that a 15 year old boy can right a whole research paper about how wrong his coaching system is. Any ways I pray the caps loose the next 5 including tonight but OVI gets to 55 goals.

  • Rob W.

    *building america’s hockey capital

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Laviolette would be a better coaching option than Oates. Lavi got fired because his team sucked defensively due to losing Pronger and having a massive albatross of a contract in net that folded mentally due to the typical Flyers media full on assault to blame the decimated blue line on the goaltender, sound familiar McPhee? Then came the three game skid to start the season. Mostly his faults were that he was coaching a team that Holmgren and Snider was making increasingly unstable.

    When was the last time this team had an odd man rush? We give up plenty of them and breakaways. How is it that every rush we have there are multiple defenders back, yet we don’t have the defenders back when it’s a dump in and is turned right back up ice? Oates system is supposed to be about clogging up the neutral zone, make it hard to enter the zone, and create takeaways. We do none of that. Teams waltz out of their zone, skate past the neutral zone and carry it deep in the zone with no problems a majority of the time. Then we get stuck in the zone, can’t get it out when we get the luck, and end up dumping it unto center ice and/or gaining the redline for a dump and chase. The only line that succeeds at the dump and chase is the third line.

    He seems clueless as to the talents of this team. The power play is successful because guys are shooting on the off-wing generally (Ovi in the Ovi spot instead of in the right wall). Look how awful we are 5on5 because guys have to shoot from bad angles to the outside with NOBODY in front of the net.

  • Josh Carey

    So Katie Carrera just tweeted that Grabo will center Penner and Wilson. That’s one heck of a fourth line. They’ll probably have a few really good shifts early in the game and Oates will move Grabo up the lineup.

    Also, with two points in the last three on the fourth line, lets just scratch Chris Brown instead of Beagle who has single-handedly broken Ovechkin at even strength. He simply cannot get any chemistry going with him, which isn’t necessarily his fault. It’s almost as if fourth line grinders shouldn’t be paired with top line superstars. Who would have thought?

  • Peteo

    He’s not getting to 55 unless the lines change. 7 Goals in the next 8 games would be a tall order even with optimally deployed lines. Sadly, optimally deployed gets substituted with “optimally showcasing Adam Oates’ Smarts” around here.

  • Graham Dumas

    Any coincidence that both of those GIFs are of characters who (in the case of the Doctor, routinely) pull something golden out of the fire when faced with adversity?

  • Eric Schulz

    We have Backstrom playing center… so, no, we don’t have centers playing wing.

  • Eric Schulz

    GM made his case, and it was “the defense is fine, guys,” which, IT IS NOT! GMGM has had so, so, so much time to add a top-4 blueliner who can play defense to pair with Green… he hasn’t. I don’t think we’ve had 4 legitimate top-4 defenders since he got here. He needs to be fired. Oates will get better; that happens when you only have 1 season coaching… GMGM has WAY too many years to get better now. He sucks. We are TWO d-men away from contention? Yeah, again, GM’s fault; and, again, he’s had FOREVER to fix it.
    Also, I’d like to know how you think Oates should better use his practice time. Show me a schedule of how practice time is currently used, and another one of how it SHOULD be used. Let me know what he’s told Kuznetsov in practice ever since he came over, and why what he’s told him is dumb. I’m kind of guessing you have no idea… there’s more to coaching than line combinations, dude.

  • Alex Newcastle

    I feel your pain man. I hear grabo is coming back today, but he will be on the 4th line. It really is baffling

  • Diller M

    From week 1 snap shot:

    Eric Fehr got clobbered at even strength this week. He was on the ice five even-strength goals against and none for the Caps. Overall a strong puck-mover, I worry for Fehr when alongside Joel Ward and Jason Chimera, two players whose talents seem redundant. The third line, as currently constructed, doesn’t pose much offensive threat as far as I can tell.

    It’s sad that this has become our best offensive threat and happy that the line has surpassed expectations. This is the one coaching decision at Oates has not screwed up.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    He has missed a lot of time. It will be like Kuzya starting on the 4th. Build a little chemistry with Wilson then get promoted and leave Wilsy on the 4th line to see limited ice. Gets Grabo back into the game flow. Hopefully by the end of the game he will be back on the first or second line.

  • Peteo

    In my mind, MJ90 is still a center. I don’t buy him as a winger even though he’s been doing it for the better part of 2 years. 8 Goals for a guy who is playing opposite Ovi and getting PP time? Seems like terribly assigned resources if you ask me.

  • Begemot

    Given all of Oates’ line shuffling, it’d be nice to see Penner-Backstrom-Ovechkin in 5v5 a few times, but apparently that’s not going to happen.

  • Harjot Singh

    Yeah I know tere is more to coaching but the negatives out way the positives. I’m not saying how he should use his practice time but who do you fall the blame on? The players? They players have some accountability but overall this teams offense is stacked and not being utilized expect for the 3rd line. Oh and as far as gm I’m talking about this year. Not past years.

  • Harjot Singh

    Oh and there was not a decent top four d man at the trade deadline besides McDonald who was scooped up by philly

  • VeggieTart

    What was wrong with Backie and Ovi together? Heck, Eric Fehr is more effective than Beagle, but maybe that’s because he meshes with Chimera and Ward. Someone said that Beagle is all heart, and that’s true. But we need more than heart on the first line.

  • Bugs Fire

    Come on, he’ll get at least 4 against Tampa…

  • Bugs Fire

    I thought the great “Beagle experiment” was an attempt to minimize perceived Ovie’s vulnerabilities on defence. It’s only 6 games (aka small sample), but (I know I should not use plus-minus, but keep going)

    1. Ovie is -3 in these 6 games
    2. Ovie is -29 in 64 games prior to that.

    Ovie is -32 now. Projecting from admittedly small sample he would have been -35 if playing with Beagle whole season. A.k.a. worse. I rest my case.

    Why do I use the stupid plus/minus metric? What it shows is that while Ovie may have been on the ice for fewer 5v5 goals while centered by Beagle, he also did not score any 5v5 goals (should have scored about 3 in 6 games). But all of this is silly. The most frightening part is this

    Oates might have done this because he actually listens to what Milbury says. That would be very, very bad.

  • Roy Schue

    Oates, please show us these lines

    Kuzya-Backy-Ovie
    Penner-Grabo-Brouwer
    Chimmer-Fehr-Ward
    Mojo-Brown-Wilson

  • Lawrence

    Mojo has been pretty terrible wherever he has been put though (at least according to my expectations for him). I don’t think he should be anywhere near 2nd line center, but hell, hes better than Beagle being there. At least with Mojo there, he could improve and maybe be a good 2nd line center in the future.

    Again, as I have said before, I think the main issue with this team is the roster. We have way too many grinders and guys that are meant to play in a defensive system. Oates is getting too much of the blame here. Why is Mcphee getting a free pass from some of you? You really think this roster is good? Yeah, maybe Oates isn’t utilizing his roster effectively in my mind, but there are always fans that are upset with lineups no matter how the team is doing.

    This team has been trending downhill ever since 2009 – 10 and nothing but a new GM is going to fix that. Most of us saw this coming with the direction the team was moving. The capitals as an organization need to figure out what direction they want to go. Do they want to be an offensive juggernaut with Ovi, Backy, Kuz, Mojo, Orlov, Green leading the way? Or do they want to play a defensive game, with Beagle, Ward, Chim, Brouwer, leading the way? Because right now, this in the middle thing isn’t working and it wouldn’t work for any other team. The capitals have turned into the Panthers (no offense) of the league and have no identity.

    My point is, we would be having this discussion right now with any coach in the league imo. the roster is just simply not there.

  • Jayleigh

    I’m gonna prelude this with “I’m not defending Oates’ line decisions” because I definitely don’t agree with them. Just stating something that came to mind the other day. Since it makes no sense to separate Ovi and Backstrom in the first place, or put Penner on the 4th line, it seems to me Oates is deliberately spreading his top guns out between all 4 lines. Is he maybe trying to put at least one of them on each line to get *every* line generating equally? Almost like he’s trying to make it so there is no “strongest line is 1st to weakest line is 4th” scenario, but instead he’s trying to make every line equal in strength and therefore in production. Sounds logical in theory I guess, but it’s definitely failing in application. It’s the only thing I can come up with (outside of trying to get himself fired) that makes sense of such odd line decisions coming from a highly experienced hockey player turned coach.

  • Owen Johnson

    Omg WHY!?!?! I just assumed Beagle was on the top line until Grabo got back. Also, going with Oates’ philosophy on moving players up if they deserve it, why is Penner still on the 4th line? Hes been producing in the limited minutes he’s getting. On the flip side, what has Mojo done to warrant a top line spot? Other than passing up open opportunites I mean.

  • Josh Carey

    I can’t say I disagree with Grabo being on the fourth line. Oates needs to see how he does at least through the first period. In an perfect world I’d like to see:

    17-19-8
    92-84-20
    3rd line
    90-67-43.

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t necessarily agree about the roster… anymore. But we haven’t had Kuznetsov and Grabovski at the same time until today (maybe). So, yeah, I like our forwards now, but we didn’t have anything better than a bubble playoff team-caliber group of forwards… and our defense… well, you know. So, I completely agree; GMGM is… really, not incompetent, most of what he’s done has been fine, but the Forsberg trade was, IMO, a fire-able offense, as has his complete and utter lack of ability to properly acknowledge and fix the problem on defense.

  • Eric Schulz

    I agree that I would MUCH rather try Johansson at center, especially on the top line, than Beagle. Really, I like depth, so I get splitting up Ovie and Backstrom, but clearly that’s a bad idea; I’d keep those two together no matter what. With Grabovski injured, and a pathetic group of centers, I’d choose the lesser of two evils, and eschew depth for the Ovie-Backstrom top-line chemistry, and throw Johansson on the 2nd line, probably with Kuznetsov and Brouwer. I agree that Oates’ handling of our line combinations is puzzling at best, and infuriating at worst (Penner with Ovie and Backstrom? Is that really anything other than the most obvious top line for the team? Why doesn’t that work?) But I do think he gets too much shit, and GMGM doesn’t get nearly enough. We don’t have enough centers, nor do we have enough defense from the forward group… which we could work around with the right defensemen, so uh… I mean, everybody knows we have essentially 3 top-4 defenders, and 4 or 5 3rd pairing guys (and Erskine… I would completely defend GMGM resigning him though; at the time it made sense, I think, Erskine’s dropoff couldn’t have been predicted, certainly not to this degree).
    I don’t care how much shit GMGM gets, it’s not enough. Really, I don’t have a problem with most of what he’s done, but his missteps, especially recently, have been so awful that I can’t see why we’d keep him.

  • Thomas

    Ovi looks mighty lean in that photo lol, call me crazy but a loss of weight of 10 LBS would benefit him huge

  • Eric Schulz

    I disagree. I would’ve traded for Robidas, at the very least… he was acquired for, what, a 4th rounder? I mean, we traded Perreault for essentially that. There were guys out there that would’ve been an upgrade…

  • Eric Schulz

    Our offense is absolutely not stacked… I could see it getting there now, if we keep Grabovski, and Kuznetsov improves next year (he’s good, of course, but he should get better next year, and then… yeah, I really like our forward group). But we’ve had very little offense, especially early in the year, and that falls on our defense’s inability to get the puck out of the zone, and start the rush. Our only scorers as I see it are:
    Ovie: crushing it
    Brouwer: started slow, but his fault… he talked about how he got away from his game, then he got back to it… immediately thereafter he scored 5 goals in 3 games, and has 11 in 15 (including that 5 in 3)… I would speculate that, after his 33-goal pace last season, he entered this season thinking he could be a goal scorer, so he got away from what made him so productive.. not Oates’ fault
    Grabovski: injured
    Kuznetsov: played 8 games
    and… yep, that’s it
    And, again, our defense needs to be better at getting the puck out and jump-starting the offense. The blame for that falls about 90% on GMGM and Calle Jo (I’d say something like 65-70% on GMGM; he’s had much longer to get it turned around, if nothing else). Looking at the roster, and using logic, that seems to me to be a huge reason our possession numbers are so lackluster.

  • Harjot Singh

    Most of the players you listed had teams over valuing there value.

  • gustafsson16

    Just my observations after going to the game yesterday and seeing the car wreck that is this team in person…

    Orlov is coming into his own. He covers ground like crazy and drives play better than most on the team. If you think a bad pinch here or error there makes him not top 4 D then…well I have bad news for you – he’s easily one of our best -right now-.

    Penner is here in body, but somewhere else in mind. Extremely lazy skater that just drifts around out there. Not impressed at all.

    Holtby made a couple great saves, so maybe he’s coming out of his funk. I am still concerned by the fact that he gives up one, and then suddenly it’s like our feelings got hurt and we can’t stop anything.

    What y’all see above in the numbers is glaring on the ice. We have one reliable line and the rest of the team is suffering. I can’t even say it’s on our defense anymore. Breakouts and possession through the neutral zone is horrible. Face offs…we might as well not even do them. Just give it to the other team like a free kick. :(

  • Owen Johnson

    I guess. Also these are EXACTLY the lines I was thinking too.

  • Searle

    I would love to see a line of Kuz-Grabovski-Wilson. Wilson deserves some ice time and he and Kuznetsov (correct me if I’m wrong) showed a bit of chemistry in their limited time together. Problem is that leaves Brouwer on the fourth line and he’s hot right now, and despite being guilty of Brouwer bashing this season he’s as good an offensive threat as we have right now (worrying)

  • gustafsson16

    Interesting to note that Ovechkin’s last 5v5 goal was the game winner against Florida…on Feb 28th. He has been a total non-factor outside of power play one-timers, regardless of who is on his line. When Russia failed to meet expectations in Sochi, I was worried his play might suffer. And right now this team, which is completely built around him, needs him to snap out of it and start producing.

  • Smiley456

    It’s long time for a new GM. And, in the past month, I’m not sure Oates deserves another year either. Strange decisions, odd-ball lines. Sure, Oates doesn’t have the players, but you have to use the ones you have correctly also.

    Hire a new GM quickly and give GM time to find his own coach.

  • Eric Schulz

    Are you joking? A 3rd rounder is essentially trading air, since the odds that a 3rd rounder will turn into an NHLer is something like 0.5%; I’d be more than happy to give up a 3rd and a 5th to get Meszaros, a proven top-4 defensive defenseman to pair with Green. Even 1st rounders don’t have a great track record of turning into NHLers beyond the top-10; this isn’t football.
    It’s certainly arguable that MacDonald is overvalued, since the advanced stats don’t like him, but on that team, it’s hard to tell, and he’s young and cheap… if you thought HE was overpaid and didn’t want to bid on him, fine. But Robidas and/or Meszaros, at the very least, were worth 2nd rounders. Fraser and/or Weaver were certainly worth 3rd rounders… I would have no problem with GMGM having traded non-1sts for two of those guys (say, a 3rd and 6th for Meszaros, and a 4th for Weaver), with the plan to pair Green and Meszaros on the 2nd, and Weaver and Orlov on the 3rd (although, I guess we’d have to check out the handedness… I disagree with Oates’ hardline with regards to fowards; on defense, I get it, although obviously you should still be flexible… but either way, as GM, you have to know that Oates is inflexible there, and trade accordingly). That would result in some guys losing ice time, but I think you’d be fine with most of our defensemen (that would get sent down) having got some nice NHL time, and now getting to develop more in the AHL (Carrick… I think would go to CHL – OHL, pretty sure – with Wey and Brouillette getting pretty much stuck in the AHL – by which I mean, at the time Brouillette was in the AHL, but after the trades he would have little chance of being called up)… Erskine, of course, wouldn’t benefit from AHL time, but I think we all would like him penned into the healthy scratch column, and Hillen… obviously he’s injured now, so getting two guys would’ve been great. Perhaps at the time, though, you would’ve traded for Fraser instead, with the idea of making him a healthy scratch (rotating, maybe), since Hillen was healthy, or nearly so. Now that he’s injured though.. again, it would’ve at least shown that GMGM was TRYING to address it. If those guys weren’t the answers, we’d be out very little. (I’d be very reluctant to trade 1sts, even low ones, and even 2nds, because you could sometimes find nice value there, paritcularly with high 2nds, but even them I’m probably overvaluing, and 3rds and beyond have virtually no value as far as developing players; 90% of the value of those picks is either in trades, or in using prospects picked there in a trade package).

  • Dark Stranger

    Beagle is the worst choice to be a center on a line with Ovechkin. Most fans remember that last year when Ovi was in his extended slump and everyone was wondering if he was “washed up”, the center on his line was Beagle. Put anyone else as center with Ovi. Reunite him with Nicky. Or at least put him with Grabovski. (Wait, they did by game’s end but still had Beagle centering that line.)

  • VeggieTart

    I think everyone BUT Adam Oates sees that Beagle on the line with Ovi is incredibly ineffective.

  • Eric Klos

    I don’t see why Penner has not been tried with Backstrom and Ovy. Put Kuznetsov with Grabs and Brouwer. Keep the 3rd line as it is. 4th line is Johanssen, Beags, and Wilson. If/when Laich comes back, move Johanssen to Center on the 4th line and Laich at left wing.