In this edition of stats analysis, NoVa Caps compares Washington Capitals player statistics between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. This includes those who improved the most in each of the major statistical categories and those who declined the most. This article only discusses players who were with the Caps for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. [All stats from hockey-reference.com]
Biggest Gainers — Goals
For goals, the player with the greatest improvement in goals from the 2016-17 season was Alex Ovechkin, whose 49 goals improved on the previous year’s total by 16. The second-best goal scoring improvement was by Jakub Vrana who scored 13 goals in 2017-18, a 10 goal improvement. This total reflects the fact that Vrana was in the NHL full time during this season, as opposed to the previous year when he spent much of the season in Hershey.
The third best improvement was by Center Evgeny Kuznetsov who had 27 goals in 2017-18, which was an 8 goal improvement from 2016-17. The fourth best improvement was by forward Tom Wilson who scored a career high in goals during 2017-18 with 14, which exceeded the previous year’s total by 7.
Defenseman John Carlson improved his goal scoring total by 6 goals, scoring 15 goals in 2017-18 as opposed to 9 the previous year. Center Lars Eller also had 6 more goals than last year, scoring 18 goals in 2017-18 and 12 in 2016-17.
|Player||Age||Pos||Goals 2016-17||Goals 2018-19||Goal Diff|
Biggest Gainers – Assists
For assists, the player who had the most assists in 2017-18 compared to the previous season was defenseman John Carlson. He had 53 assists during 2017-18, which was 25 more assists than in 2016-17. The next largest improvement in assists came from center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had 56 assists during 2017-18 which, was 16 more than the previous year.
Jakub Vrana alao improved his assist total in 2017-18 to 14 which was an improvement by 11 assists. But this improvement was helped by the fact he spent the entire season in Washington, as opposed to spending much of it in Hershey the previous year. Chandler Stephenson had 12 more assists for the Caps than in 2017-18, but his total is also skewed by the fact he only played in six games in 2016-17 and played more of the year at Hershey.
|Player||Age||Pos||Assists 2017-18||Assists 2016-16||Assist Diff|
Biggest Gainers – Total Points
The biggest improvement in total points (goals plus assists) came from John Carlson, who had 31 more points in 2017-18 than he did in 2016-17. This year, he had 68 points as opposed to 37 the previous year.
The greatest improvement was from Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had a 24-point improvement, earning 83 points in 2017-18 and 59 in 2016-17. The next greatest improvement was Jakub Vrana, who had a 21-point improvement, jumping from 6 points in 2016-17 to 27 in 2017-18. This was fueled by becoming a full-time player in Washington as opposed to spending it in Hershey. The fourth best jump in points was by Alex Ovechkin who jumped from 69 points in 2016-17 to 87 in 2017-18.
|Player||Age||Pos||GP||PTS 2017-18||PTS 2016-17||Point Diff|
Biggest Declines – Goals
The biggest decline in goals on the Washington Capitals came from T.J. Oshie. He had a career high of 33 goals in 2016-17, but had 18 in 2017-18, for a decline of 15 goals. The next biggest decline was from center Jay Beagle, who scored 7 goals in 2017-18 after scoring 13 goals in 2016-17, a decline of 6. The next biggest decline was from Nicklas Backstrom, who scored 21 goals in 2017-18, a decline of two goals from the previous season where he scored 23.
Biggest Declines – Assists
The biggest decline in assists happened to Nicklas Backstrom, who had 50 assists in 2017-18 which was 13 assists less than the 63 assists he had in 2016-17. The next biggest decline was Matt Niskanan, who had 22 assists in 2017-18 which was 12 assists less than his 2016-17 total of 30. Due to injury, Niskanen played in 10 less games in 2017-18 than he did the previous season. The next largest decline in assists was by Andre Burakovsky, who had 23 assists in 2016-17 but only 13 in 2017-18 for a decline of 6 assists. He played in 6 games less than in the previous year.
Biggest Declines – Total Points
The biggest decline in assists happened to Nicklas Backstrom who had 71 total points in 2017-18 which was 15 points less than the 86 points he had in 2016-17. The next biggest decline was Matt Niskanan who had 29 points in 2017-18 which was 10 points less than his 2016-17 total of 39. Andre Burakovksy was tied with Niskanan for largest decline with 10 poinsts, having 35 assists in 2016-17 but only 25 in 2017-18 for a decline of 10 assists. T.J Oshie has 9 points less in 2017-18 than he did in 2016-17, having 47 points instead of 56.
By Diane Doyle