With the departure of several key faceoff players over the past offseason, NoVa Caps has decided to take a season-long look at the progress and success (or lack there of) of the Capitals faceoffs throughout the season. Our first post re-caps the first seven games of the season.
Player Stats After Seven Games
- Chandler Stephenson has been somewhat of an early surprise with his faceoff success. A much-needed back-fill of faceoff capabilities for the bottom six.
- Jay Beagle continues to be Jay Beagle at the dot, leading the Capitals and 2nd overall in the NHL in faceoff winning percentage.
- Justin Williams is a perfect 5 for 5. A small data sample, but encouraging.
- The Capitals are currently 18th in the league in faceoff win percentage (49.3%).
- The Capitals faceoff stats include games against Calgary and Edmonton, the 28th and 29th ranked faceoff teams.
- Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov are well below 50%, but again ,it’s early.
- Trotz pointed out earlier this week that Evgeny Kuznetsov was “absolutely terrible” at faceoffs last year (38.9 percent), but he’s steadily improved this season.
- T.J. Oshie has been asked by Caps coaching staff to step-up his face-off game this year, to help fill the offseason voids created by player departures. Never a forte for Mr. Oshie, it will be interesting to see how he progresses. After going 0-3 on opening night, Oshie has improved.
- For now, the top line will depend on Evegeny Kuznetsov for faceoffs, and thus, his success rate will need to improve.
- Nicklas Backstrom, for now, will lead the second line and field a majority of the second line faceoffs. Although his success rate is currently below 50%, it’s early, and Backstrom missed games at the start of the season.
It’s only been seven games, so the data-set is relatively small at this point. However, some of the concerns regarding the void in faceoff capabilities created by offseason departures is tangible. It will be interesting to see how the Capitals respond to being in the bottom half of the league in faceoffs following the first seven games. We will check back in a couple of weeks.