Photo: Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Throughout their 44-year history, and particularly in the Alex Ovechkin era, the Capitals have employed a number of role players that have aided in the team’s success, whether by adding occasional offensive productivity or playing exemplary defense, or both. In this latest Capitals Alumni Profile, NoVa Caps looks back at one such player who was key in the Caps’ return to prominence in the Ovechkin era: Boyd Gordon.
Gordon was drafted by the Capitals in the first-round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, with the 17th overall pick. Touted for his offensive potential (he recorded 172 points in just 60 games played as a 15-year old and averaged 58.3 points over four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League). Gordon joined the Caps during the 2003-04 season after spending 43 games with the team’s then-American Hockey League affiliate, Portland Pirates (with whom he scored five goals and recorded 2 points), and scored once and added five assists for six points in 41 games played with the Caps, with a minus-9 rating all while averaging 13:11 of ice time for then-Head Coach Bruce Cassidy.
Gordon’s second season with the Caps would not come for another two seasons, as the 2004-05 season was cancelled due to a labor lockout. This time, Gordon spent the majority of the season with the team’s new AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, playing just 25 games with the big club (recording one assist and a minus-4 rating), before playing 68 games for Hershey, scoring 16 goals and adding 22 assists for 38 points, en route to helping Hershey win the 2006 Calder Cup championship (his 38 points were the second-most of his AHL career, second only to the previous season, in which he recorded 39 with the Portland Pirates).
Gordon would establish himself as a full-time NHLer in 2006-07, playing 71 games with the Capitals, scoring what was then a career-high seven goals while adding a career-high 22 assists for 29 points, with a plus-10 rating, averaging 15:53 of ice time for then-Head Coach Glen Hanlon. Gordon followed up his breakout 2006-07 season with a less-productive one in 2007-08, recording just 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 67 games played, averaging 15:44 of ice time under Hanlon and then Bruce Boudreau (who coached Gordon in Hershey). While his offensive numbers decline, Gordon established himself as an effective faceoff man for the Caps, winning 55.8% of the draws he took.
Gordon would play three more seasons for the Capitals, scoring 12 goals and adding 21 assists for 33 points in 159 games played, with a minus-5 rating and an average of 12:35 of ice time, before signing with the then-Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes to a two-year contract on July 1, 2011 as a free agent. Gordon would record 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) in 123 games played with the ‘Yotes before signing a three-year, $9 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers in free agency. Gordon would see another short stint with the Coyotes, and one season in Philadelphia with the Flyers (2016-17) before retiring from the NHL. In 13 seasons in the NHL, Gordon played in 706 games, scoring 56 goals, and adding 105 assists for 161 points, with a minus-26 rating.
While he was by no means a flashy player, Gordon was a key component of the Caps’ return to playoff contention in the Alex Ovechkin era and helped the team to multiple division titles and a President’s Trophy win in 2010.
Check out NoVa Caps’ other Capitals Alumni Profiles HERE.
By Michael Fleetwood