Washington Capitals’ Faceoffs Review – Update #2


NoVa Caps presents part two of a season-long review of the Capitals’ faceoff successes (or lack thereof).  To recap the initial goal of this assessment, the team lost significant faceoff skills over the summer, so we thought we’d track the progress of the team as we proceed through the 2015-2016 season.  Part one of the analysis can be found here:

League Stats Summary
team-statsAfter 10 games, the Washington Capitals are 19th in the league in overall faceoff winning percentages at 49.3% (14th in defensive zone Faceoffs, 12th in offensive zone Faceoffs).  The Caps are ranked 25th at home, but 5th in the league in away game winning percentages.

Capitals Player Stats Summary


(From Faceoffs.net)

For a frame of reference, the Capitals ended the 2014-2015 regular season with a team faceoff win percentage of 51.2%, for 12th in the league.  The leagues’ leader last season was the Boston Bruins at 53.6%.  The leagues’ worst was the Buffalo Sabres at 44.9%.

Jay Beagle, Chandler Stephenson, Justin Williams and Michael Latta lead the team in faceoff winning percentages, and are the only players on the Capitals above 50%. However, Justin William’s sample size (7 faceoffs) is too small to really amount to much at this stage (on the same line as Backstrom) and Michael Latta has been a consistent healthy scratch as of late. The early assessment reveals a need for improvement amongst the top six.

Trends since the last update: Both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom have improved their winning percentages – Kuznetsov from 43.8% to 46.2% and Backstrom from 44.1% to 48.4%.  However, both Jay Beagle and Chandler Stephenson have dropped in winning percentages by roughly five percent each.  Andre Burakovsky has no faceoffs in the last three games. It’s not clear if this is a new tactical strategy or simply happenstance.

The Washington Capitals remain in the bottom third of the league in faceoff winning percentages. Since our last update, the team stats have remained fairly consistent, however key players such as Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov have been improving while Beagle and Stephenson have fallen off.  T.J. Oshie continues to see more faceoffs, however his success rate has dropped from 38.9% to 37.0%. As stated in the first update, Coach Trotz has called on Oshie to step up his faceoff game.

The league-splits are provided in he following table:


In part three of this review, we will begin to look at the strategies and affect’s employed by Coach Trotz, and begin to construct additional theory regarding the team’s overall faceoff capabilities.

By Jon Sorensen
Data provided by Faceoffs.net

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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