Nate Schmidt is Proving Himself Worthy of A Bigger Role Next Season with Strong Playoff Showing

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When the 2016-17 season began, Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt was seen as nothing more than a bottom-pairing defenseman on a Capitals team stacked with talent on the blueline. But as the regular season progressed, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs arrived, the 25-year old Schmidt has seen his role increase and has proven himself worthy of an even bigger role next season.

A restricted free agent this summer, Schmidt has earned himself a new deal with a career year. While his playing time in the second half of the regular season decreased significantly with the Capitals’ acquisition of Kevin Shattenkirk, an injury to Karl Alzner early in the playoffs gave Schmidt the chance to return to the lineup and he has not disappointed.


Graphic: @AskWinnersView

In nine games played in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Schmidt has recorded four points (one goal, three assists) and a plus/minus rating of plus-4, while averaging 17:37 of ice time a night. Amongst all Capitals defensemen in the playoffs, Schmidt ranks second in points and sixth in average ice time. He has blocked nine shots and has five takeaways.

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But Schmidt’s strong showing shouldn’t come as a surprise. When the Capitals lost defenseman John Carlson for an extended period of time during the regular season, Schmidt’s role increased significantly. When Brooks Orpik missed over 40 games last season to an injury, Schmidt was put into a Top 4 role and performed admirably. Schmidt recorded a career-high 17 points this season and showed the potential to become a talented two-way threat like fellow young blueliner Dmitry Orlov, who has become an offensive threat this season.

With even more playing time, it’s possible Schmidy could reach the offensive totals Orlov has reached the last two seasons (33 and 39 points, respectively).

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of Caps fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. Born the year the Capitals went to their first and only Stanley Cup Final, Michael is a diehard Caps fan and is the owner of the very first Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe B himself. His favorite player became Nate Schmidt after meeting Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles
This entry was posted in Defense, News, NHL, Players, Playoffs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Nate Schmidt is Proving Himself Worthy of A Bigger Role Next Season with Strong Playoff Showing

  1. Pete Nelson says:

    I have a feeling Schmidt is going to be playing in Vegas next year

    Like

  2. Pingback: With Their Season Over, the Caps Face A Massively Important Offseason With their Pending Free Agents | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: As it Currently Stands, Karl Alzner Has Likely Played His Last Game as A Capital | NoVa Caps

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