One of the biggest differences between the Caps under Barry Trotz and the Caps under Adam Oates is the role of defensemen in offense. In February, Alex Prewitt described that role like this:
Blue-liners in Coach Barry Trotz’s system hold the freedom to pinch inside the offensive zone, collapsing onto pucks along the boards to keep possessions alive, but they also are asked to do their fair share of long-range flinging.
Last week, I looked at how badly the Caps’ forwards other than Alex Ovechkinstruggle to generate shot attempts. But with Prewitt’s insight on the role of defenseman in Trotz’s system in mind, here’s a look at shot generation from the Caps defensemen, from a bit of a different angle.
There’s a glossary at the bottom, so be sure to check that out if the chart doesn’t make sense. We’re going to look at what percent of the overall shot attempts by Caps defenders each regular blue liner takes, as well as how effective each defensemen is at getting his individual shot attempts through and getting them on net.
While we use shot attempts as a proxy for meaningful puck possession, this doesn’t mean that all shot attempts are of equal value during game play. Generally, an unblocked shot attempt is preferred to one that is blocked, and a shot on goal is preferred to a shot attempt that goes wide. With that in mind, here’s a look at the six Caps defenders who have a sample size worth looking at.
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After every victory, Barry Trotz has a tradition. He stands outside the locker room and offers fist bumps to the players. All year, the Capitals have documented this on Instagram. I, a noted poopy pants, think this whole thing is contrived. Apparently Brooks Orpik agrees.
Watch as Orpik walks by and ignores his head coach after the Caps’ 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Maybe Orpik’s most endearing moment of the season.
Alex Ovechkin can score a million different ways. Tonight he gave us a greasy goal. Brooks Orpik gathered a pass from Nicklas Backstrom and sent a shot on net. The Russian machine turned his skates, put his blade to puck, and deflected it past the Sergei Bobrovski, who is back on the force for the first time since January.
On February 20, 2015, In News, Photos, By Ian Oland
Photos: Washington Capitals
Friday morning, the Capitals released the design of their new Courage Caps hats and t-shirts. 100% of the proceeds benefit TAPS, a national organization that provides care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. The Caps say they’ve donated $486,261 to charity through the sale of more than 15,000 hats and nearly 7,000 T-shirts to fans. That’s awesome. Way to go, you.
What’s even cooler is that the team had a few players model some of the new gear this year, including Matt Niskanen, John Carlson, and Brooks Orpik. But I’m guessing – and this is just a hunch – that our readers are going to want to visually consume the Tom Wilson pixels.
Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik plays on the edge, always looking for the big hit. That’s why he’s a league leader in the statistic and universally respected among players. Tonight, Orpik landed a big hit on Cal Clutterbuck and may have seriously injured himself.
Crazy-eyedBrooks Orpik spent 11 seasons in Pittsburgh before leaving for rival Washington as a free agent. Before that, he won a Stanley Cup with the Pens in 2009 and was a fan favorite in the ‘Burgh. Saturday night was his first time back in his old stomping grounds.