John Erskine: 2013-14 Season Review

Old pic, but so good. (Photo: Mitchell Layton)

If you’re looking for ransom, Big John Erskine can tell you he doesn’t have money. But what he does have is a very particular set of skills, skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like you.

By the Numbers

37 Games played
15.3 Average time on ice per game
1 Goals
3 Assists
45.7% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
44.7% Goal percentage during 5v5
9.5% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
90.3% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

Peter’s Take

How do you even analyze a player like John Erskine? He is exactly what you think he is: a huge, not particularly fast, physical D-man with a talent for face-punching and a cannon (not a muffin) of a slapshot. That’s the kind of player you want occupying the 7D slot, ready to join the team in particular situations or when someone is hurt. Except in 2013-14, Erskine was the one playing hurt, rushed back from reconstructive knee surgery, and taking shifts with the greenest noobs on the team’s roster. It did not go well.

That’s too much responsibility, and the Caps paid for it. When Ersk was on the ice– against pretty soft competition– the Caps got lit up with shots. John’s traditionally high on-ice save percentage plummeted to a team low 90.3 percent. No Caps players had a higher goals against/60 rate than John. It was rough, and the things Erskine was known to do pretty well– being a physical force in the slot, emancipating blood from the faces of his enemies– didn’t happen much.

So. Yeah. Rough season.

Big John on RMNB

In Pictures

John got mugged by the Flyers.

Elsewhere, K.O.

Kicking it on zambo– err… ice resurfacers at Kettler.

Not exactly making the Wings work for it here:

Your Turn

Is John Erskine gonna play more than 30 games next season? If he does, will that be a good thing or a bad thing?

Read more: Japers Rink, Peerless

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  • Peter

    The management has a serious decision to make for next season. The Caps can blood a few younger guys (Carrick, and I’d love to see Nate Schmidt get another shot) … OR stick with gritty veteran guys like Erskine. Not both.

    Slow and experienced can work in the right circumstances. Slow and young cannot.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Draft or trade. They’re gonna overpay for one or suffer inexperience for the other. I don’t see a TON of D in the pipeline either. Worries.

  • DashingDave314

    If Erskine plays more than 30 games next year… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms8EZbGDt1Q

  • DashingDave314

    I’d MUCH rather see Erskine than Carrick. Carrick needs to develop. And couldn’t agree with you more about Schmidty.

  • tpr04

    I like John Erskine, but he’s pretty much done. It was ridiculous for Oates to try to force him in the top 4 at the start of the season. He can’t be in the top 6 at the start of the next one.

    I do have a problem with the characterization of his slapshot as a cannon. I don’t recall that at all. The best slapshots on the Caps D were probably Orlov, Carlson, and Green – in that order. Not much after that.

  • Lawrence

    I think that caps management and Ersk himself wanted to be something he is not.

    http://imspmn.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/tumblr_lp0e10nvet1qc85hro1_500.gif

    He would be fine as a 6th/7th D, and I actually think he could perform very well at that role. But expecting him to step in and be a solid top 4 defenseman…

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Cannon was a reference to this: http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2013/01/27/muffins-are-greater-than-cannons-john-erskine-scores-his-first-goal-since-may-2011/

    “I was going to unleash the big cannon first and then he got in the lane so I just threw a little muffin and good stuff happens.”

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • Jon A

    First of all, I’m glad the GIF of Erskine getting jumped by Simmonds and Lecavelier is on here. It makes me hate the Flyers more and shows how tough Ersk really is when allowed to play the role at which he excels.

    I don’t think he needs or should play more than thirty games. I do think he should just be put out on the ice a few shifts a game to remind people it could be really dangerous and painful to plant themselves in front of the Holtbeast.

    Also, my new favorite line in an RMNB article is now, “emancipating blood from the faces of his enemies.”

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    “I don’t see a TON of D in the pipeline either.”

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. The Caps have a ton of prospect depth defensively, and I really believe that will eventually become a strength at the NHL level in the next year or two. The only problem is that none of the prospects they have now in the system could really turn into a number one pairing guy down the road.

  • Lawrence

    I think we have some good prospects, but until we get some veteran D’s and a better system, its almost a wash. These kids are coming into mayhem on this team. The way we have brought up these players into our system has been downright terrible for the caps and even more so for these prospects. I’m glad Hershey has their stuff together and can clean up the caps messes, or this could be even uglier.

  • Owen Johnson

    Take THAT Columbus!

  • Alex Hughes

    I don’t see Erskine as a fit here. He is the new Jeff Schultz and besides the physical play, he doesn’t bring much to the table. He is too slow to be on this team and he very rarely takes shots. Would like to see a Nate Schmidt or Steve Oleksy over John Erskine. It’s time to move on from him

  • Freedoooom

    Well I guess by the Ovi-hater standard for saying Ovechkins on ice shooting percentage is his own fault because hes not making his teammates better, Erskine is a better player than Ovechkin.

    9.5% on ice shooting percentage HOLY CRAP. Ovechkin could of had over 90 points if he got that.

  • Boush

    Schmidt, Oleksy, Wey, Carrick, Bowey, and Kundratek could make a solid top-6 (not in that order) on their own in about four-five years. I’m with Ian, I don’t see D prospect depth as an organizational weakness at all. It might be their one remaining strength now that all the goalies are gone.
    Problem is, none of those six guys are truly ready for a top-4 role next (this?) season. Schmidt, Oleksy, and Kundratek could be 5-6-7, though. Assuming Erskine is gone.

  • Sarah
  • Barrett

    John Erskine can stay, but he has to be the 6th or 7th defenseman depending on the matchup. You’re playing Boston, Toronto, or Philadelphia…. He’s in the lineup. Pittsburgh, Chicago, Anaheim, San Jose….he’s not.

    If you remove Erskine from the current roster, that leaves Tom Wilson as the only willing participant to engage in extra curricular activities on the ice….and that’s not good. I’d like to see big john rotate with Binky and be paired with Orlov, a new Partner for Greenie and keep Carlzer.

  • Barrett

    That depends on your definition of depth (quality vs quantity). They have a bunch of bodies (Oleksy, Schmidt, Carrick, Wey, Kundratek, Brouillette, Schilling, Stachan) currently at the ECHL or AHL level, but none of those guys are quality players to crack the top 4. The “depth” of their defensive prospects starts with Madison Bowey and ends with Christian Djoos and Jaynen Rissling. You don’t think Madison Bowey could be a top line defenseman?

  • John M

    Well, what is he “fitting” into? New GM, new coach, (God willing) new D coach. Hard to say how any Capitals player “fits” until we know what strategy they are employing. Erksine was pretty bad this year, so I would agree with you, but maybe it depends on the options?

  • Rhino40

    But what he does have is a very particular set of skills, skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like you.

    Top action film stars of the Early 21st Century: Chris Hemsworth, Jason Statham, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe…

    …and Liam Neeson

    Who knew?