NoVa Caps presents part five of a season-long review of the Capitals’ face-off successes (or lack thereof). To recap, the initial goal of this assessment was to track the effects of the team’s loss of key face-off players over the summer, and to follow the progress of the team as we proceed through the 2015-2016 season.
League Stats Summary
After 71 games, the Capitals currently reside in the bottom third of the pack (in a two-way tie for 18th) with regards to team face-off stats, with an overall face-off winning percentage of 49.8%.
The Caps are 24th overall in offensive zone face-off winning percentage (50.8%) and 20th overall in defensive zone face-off winning percentage (48.6%). As a team, the Caps are 16th in home game face-off winning percentages, and 19th overall on the road.
To recap, for a frame of reference, the Capitals ended the 2014-2015 regular season with a team face-off 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%.
Capitals Player Stats Summary
Trends (Since Last Update)
The Capitals leveled-off near the bottom-third of the league for overall face-off success rates. The return of Jay Beagle has stabilized the team’s overall success rates. (since Update #3).
T.J. Oshie was asked by Caps coaching staff in training camp 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, T.J. has steadily improved and is now one of the team’s best at the dot. Justin Williams has also done very well at filling the voids in faceoff talent created by player departures last summer. Nicklas Backstrom has improved his success rate since Update #4, but still remains below 50%. Evgeny Kuznetsov has also improved his success rate since the last update, but also remains below 50%.
Barry Trotz had noted before the trade deadline that the team would like to get a player that could potentially help with faceoffs. At this point it does not appear that Daniel Winnik (or Mike Weber for that matter) will provide much help in that area.
The Capitals as a team have leveled-off with regards to overall progress and improvement at the face-off dot. The team looks like it will be unable to match last season’s success rate at the dot, but this has not seemed to hurt the team’s ability to win games during the regular season. The playoffs may be another matter.
The overall team splits are provided in the following graphic for all face-offs through the Caps first 71 games.
By Jon Sorensen