The Final “Score”: Player Report Cards For the 2018-2019 Season

backyoviWith the Capitals’ season over and the offseason just around the corner, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle gives a final “Report Card” for each player for the Capitals this season, breaking down the grades by position.

FORWARDS

Alex Ovechkin (LW) – Alex Ovechkin, the team’s captain and best player, had a great season in 2018-19 as the team tried to repeat as champions in back-to-back seasons.  He scored 51 goals, and, in the process passed numerous greats on the All-Time Goals List. Ovechkin added 38 assists in addition to his 51 goals in 2018-19 for 89 points overall, which was two goals and points more than the 2017-18 season.

In the playoffs, Ovechkin scored four goals and added five assists, averaging more than a point per game. Despite his outstanding effort and performance in the postseason, Ovechkin was critical of his own game in his exit interview with the media.

Regular Season: A
Postseason: A-

Nicklas Backstrom (C) — Backstrom, one of the Capitals’ two top centers, had a relatively typical year in terms of his production in 2018-19, in which he played in 80 games, scoring 22 goals and adding 52 assists for 74 points.  His regular season stats were similar to those of 2017-18, in which he scored 21 goals and added 50 assists for 71 points. For the playoffs, Backstrom scored five goals and added an additional three assists for eight points but had no points in either of the final two games of the playoffs.

Regular Season: B+
Postseason: A-

Evgeny Kuznetsov (C) — Kuznetsov, the Capitals’ other top center, had a decent year, production-wise, for 2018-19, scoring 21 goals and recording 51 assists for 72 points overall in 76 games played. Kuznetsov’s faceoff percentage was a dismal 38.71, which meant the Caps would lose two of every three faceoffs.  His goal total was a drop from his total in 2017-18, in which he scored 27. In the playoffs, Kuznetsov scored one goal and had two assists, which was less than expected of him in terms of productivity.

Regular Season: B+
Postseason: C+

Tom Wilson (RW) — Wilson, the team’s top-line right winger, had a great year in terms of production, for 2018-19, scoring 22 goals and recording 18 assists for 40 points in 63 games played. Wilson’s season was marred by a long suspension he earned just before the start of the regular season, which initially spanned 20 games but was reduced on appeal to 14 games. As a result of the suspension, Wilson needed to change his game to be more of an offensive weapon and less of a physical force, although he still had 128 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, Wilson scored three goals and added two assists, for five points in seven games.

Regular Season: A-
Postseason: A-

T.J. Oshie (RW) — Oshie, the team’s other Top 6 right wing, had a great year in 2018-19., but again dealt with a rash of injuries that limited him to 69 games. Despite this, he scored 25 goals and had 29 assists for 54 points, which was very close to approaching his career-highs. In the playoffs, Oshie played in just four games as a result of a broken collar bone after a hit from Warren Foegele of the Carolina Hurricanes. Prior to his injury, he scored one goal and one assist. His absence was keenly felt by the Capitals as they could not replace his productivity.

Regular Season: A
Postseason: B (Incomplete)

Jakub Vrana (LW) — Vrana had his best year in the NHL in 2018-19, scoring 24 goals and adding 23 assists for 47 points in 82 games played. This nearly doubled his production from the previous season, in which he scored 13 goals. His production is especially impressive when one considers that he is not a member on the first Power Play unit for the team.  Despite his strong regular season performance, he had no points in the playoffs.  He admitted to dealing with an injury for the playoffs but would not admit to its nature.

Regular Season: A
Postseason: C

Lars Eller (C) — The Capitals’ third-line center’s goal total in 2018-19 did not match his 2017-18 total. However, he added 23 assists which was three more than he had in 2017-18, making his overall point total only two less than last season. Eller scored just one goal in the playoffs, an empty-netter in the first game, and added two assists.

Regular Season: B
Postseason: C+

Brett Connolly (RW) — Connolly had a career year in 2018-19, the final season of his current contract. He scored 22 goals and added 24 assists for 44 points, all career-highs. In the playoffs, he scored two goals but recorded no assists in the Caps’ seven-game series against the Hurricanes.

Regular Season: A-
Postseason: B-

Andre Burakovsky (LW) — During the 2018-19 season, Burakovsky scored 12 goals and added 13 assists which were identical numbers to his 2017-18 season.  However, he played in 76 games this year as opposed to 56 last season. He did not come close to matching his best season (which came in 2015-16) in which he scored 17 goals and had 21 assists. Burakovsky becomes a restricted free agent this summer and it now becomes a question whether the team wishes to issue him a qualifying offer. During the playoffs, he had one goal and one assist in seven games.

Regular Season: C
Postseason: B-

Carl Hagelin (LW) — During the 2018-19 season, Hagelin played in 58 games, scoring five goals and contributing 14 assists. For the Caps, he scored three goals and had eight assists in 20 games. Overall, he had less goals than he had the previous season when he had 10 goals and 21 assists. He ended up being more productive for the Caps than he had with his previous two teams. He started the season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and was traded to the Los Angeles Kings who traded him to the Caps at the trade deadline.  He displayed great speed for the Caps, who started him on the fourth-line, but eventually promoted him to the third-line and even to the second-line.  In the playoffs, he had just one goal in seven games.

Regular Season: B (Caps tenure only); C- (Entire year)
Postseason: C

Chandler Stephenson (C) — During the 2018-19 season, Chandler Stephenson played in 64 games, scoring five goals and adding six assists for 11 points overall. He scored one less goal than the previous season but dropped in assists from 12 to just six. During the 2017-18 season, Stephenson generally played on the third-line and occasionally on the second. This season, he was on the fourth-line and even became a healthy scratch after the Caps acquired Hagelin. In the playoffs, he had no goals and no assists.

Regular Season: C-
Postseason: C

Travis Boyd (C) — During the 2018-19 season, Travis Boyd played in 53 games, scoring five goals and adding 15 assists for 20 points. The season was his first full season in the NHL, with no time spent in the American Hockey League. Boyd missed the first month of the season due to a broken leg, so did not get into any games until November.  His best productivity in the lineup came during the month of December, when he scored in three consecutive games and had several assists, generally playing on the fourth-line. He played in only one playoff game and was a healthy scratch for most of the playoffs.

Regular Season: C
Postseason: Incomplete

Nic Dowd (C) — During the 2018-19 season, Dowd played in 64 games, had eight goals and had 14 assists for 22 points overall. He was brought to the team to be a replacement for longtime fourth-line center Jay Beagle, who had departed in free agency.  His productivity was very good for a fourth-line center, which earned him a three-year contract from the Capitals. Dowd had one goal in the playoffs.

Regular Season: C+
Postseason: C

Devante Smith-Pelly (RW) — During the 2018-19 season, Devante Smith-Pelly played in 54 games, scoring four goals and adding four assists. His season started off on the wrong foot as he was held out of most of the team’s preseason games due to conditioning issues. He never really recovered, and was waived at the trade deadline and sent to the Caps’ AHL affiliate, Hershey Bears, to make room for expected trade acquisitions. After Oshie was injured, Smith-Pelley was called up to replace him. He played in three playoff games and recorded no points, which was a far cry from his performance of the previous season, where he had scored some key goals in crucial moments.

Regular Season: D-
Postseason: D

Dmitrij Jaskin (RW) — Jaskin began the 2018-19 season as a waiver pickup when the St. Louis Blues placed him on waivers at the end of training camp.  During the season, he had two goals and six assists in just 37 games, which was a decline from his numbers the previous season with the St. Louis Blues, in which he recorded six goals and 11 assists in 76 games. He was a healthy scratch throughout the latter part of February and March, not playing any games after February 17, except for the very last game of the season on April 6. He played in none of the Caps’ seven-game playoff series.

Regular Season: D-
Postseason: Incomplete

DEFENSEMEN

John Carlson (D) — Carlson had an excellent year as one of the top-pairing defensemen, despite being paired with multiple partners, due to Michal Kempny becoming injured. He played in 80 games and scored 13 goals and added 57 assists for a career-high 70 points. Carlson’s Corsi For Percentage was 51.1, with a Relative Corsi Percentage of 3.4% and a Fenwick Percentage of 1.4 and Relative Fenwick of 3.9%. For the playoffs, Carlson had no goals and five assists in seven games.

Regular Season: A
Postseason: B+

Michal Kempny (D) — Michal Kempny spent his first full season with the Capitals as the partner of Carlson on the first pairing and played in 71 games, recording six goals and 19 assists for 25 points.  On the negative side of the ledger, he had 60 penalty minutes. His Corsi For percentage this year was 50.7% with a Relative Corsi of 2.1% and a Fenwick percentage of 50.5, in addition to a Relative Fenwick of 1.8%.  He appeared in no postseason games due to a torn hamstring suffered in a game against Tampa Bay in March.

Regular Season: B
Postseason: Incomplete

Dmitry Orlov (D) — Orlov spent the season in the Top 4 for the Caps. Offensively, he had three goals and 26 assists for 29 points overall and played in all 82 of the team’s scheduled games. His Corsi For percentage this year was 48.3% and his Relative Corsi was -1.2% while his Fenwick percentage was 48.4% and his Relative Fenwick was -1.0%.  In the postseason, he had no goals and four assists. 2018-19 was a slightly worse year in Corsi and Fenwick than 2017-18, but both the relative Corsi and Fenwick percentages were negative this year.

Regular Season: C
Postseason: B-

Matt Niskanen (D) — Niskanen spent the season in the Top 4 for the Caps.  Offensively, he had eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points overall and played in 80 games. Overall, it was a good year on the offensive front, with one more goal but four less assists.  However, there was a great dip in the Corsi and Fenwick percentages.  For Corsi percentage, he was 47.0% with a relative Corsi of -3.2%, while his Fenwick percentage was 46.6%, with a relative Fenwick of -4.0.  While there were only slight dips in his overall Corsi and Fenwick percentages, his relative Corsi and Fenwick percentages dipped from slighly positive numbers to over three percentage points in the “red”.  In the postseason, he had no goals and two assists.

Regular Season: C
Postseason: C

Brooks Orpik (D) — Orpik played as a bottom-pairing defenseman for the Capitals throughout the 2018-19 season. He played in 53 games and scored two goals while adding seven assists. His Corsi Percentage was 46.8%, with a relative Corsi of -3.9, while his Fenwick Percentage was 47.2 with a relative Fenwick of -2.9.  His Corsi and Fenwick, while still below 50%, were an improvement over his statistics of the 2017-18 season, although he played a more limited role this season. In the postseason, he had one goal and one assist and saw more ice time than he had during the regular season.

Regular Season: C
Postseason: C+

Christian Djoos (D) — Christian Djoos saw a limited, third-pairing role this season.  He played in 45 games and had one goal and nine assists for 10 points overall.  His Corsi percentage was 48.8% with a relative Corsi of 2.0%, while his Fenwick percentage was 47.0% and his relative Fenwick, 0.1%.  This was a decline from last year, in which his Corsi and Fenwick were both over 52% and his relative Corsi and Fenwick were both over 5%. He injured his leg on December 11, which turned out to be compartment syndrome that needed surgery. He was not able to return to the Caps until February.  Since the injury, he likely played more tentatively than he had beforehand. Additionally, he did not get consistent ice time, especially after the Caps acquired Nick Jensen.  He played in just three postseason games, recording no points and finishing with a minus-3.

Regular Season: C
Postseason: D

Madison Bowey (D) — Bowey usually played on the third-pairing for the Capitals prior to being traded to the Detroit Red Wings.  He played in 33 games with the Caps, scoring one goal and adding five assists. During his time with the Caps, his Corsi percentage was 45.3% with a relative Corsi of -2.8% while his Fenwick percentage was 46.8 with a relative Fenwick of -1.2.

Regular Season: C-
Postseason: Did not play

Nick Jensen (D) — Jensen was acquired in a trade at the trade deadline, in exchange for Bowey.  He mostly played on the third-pairing, occasionally appearing on the first-pairing. During his first 20 games with the Caps, he had no goals and five assists. His Corsi percentage was 46.6% with a relative Corsi of -9.3% ,while his Fenwick percentage was 47.1%, with a relative Fenwick of -8.4%.  He played in all seven playoff games and did not score or record any points. His productivity with the Caps was worse than his time with Detroit, albeit a small sample size, which should improve over the next four seasons.

Regular Season: C
Postseason: C

Jonas Siegenthaler (D) — Siegenthaler played on the third defensive-pairing, when he was in the lineup during his rookie season. He played in 26 games, scoring no goals, but recording four assists. His Corsi percentage was 48.8%, with a relative Corsi of -1.4%, while his Fenwick was 49.9%, with a relative Fenwick of -0.7%.  He played in four playoff games and did not record points in any of them.

Regular Season: C+
Postseason: C+

GOALTENDERS

Braden Holtby (G) — Holtby, the number one goalie for the Capitals, played in 59 games during the 2018-19 season and posted a 32-19-5 record, with a goals-against average of 2.82, and save percentage of .911; his goals saved above average was 1.79. His save percentage improved over the 2018-19 season but was still not as good as his career percentage. In the playoffs, he went 3-4, with a goals-against average of 2.67 and a save percentage of .914.

Regular Season: B
Postseason: B

Pheonix Copley (G) — Pheonix Copley, the backup goalie for the Capitals, played in 27 games during the 2018-19 season and posted a 16-7-3 record, with a goals-against average of 2.90 and save percentage of .905.  He did not play in the playoffs.

Regular Season: C+
Postseason: Incomplete.

By Diane Doyle

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
This entry was posted in News, NHL, Players, Propsects, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Final “Score”: Player Report Cards For the 2018-2019 Season

  1. Anonymous says:

    Looks like lower grades for the playoffs for the most part! The question ask why then. For one Reirden was out coached by another rookie coach. The Canes looked hungrier then my team. Corrections need to be made asap.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Eastern Conference Final Preview: Atlantic #2 Bruins vs. Metropolitan #4 Hurricanes | NoVa Caps

  3. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Ahoy, Nova Caps Fans editors: How about a Caps’ Coaching Report Card?
    A Coaching Report Card … A General Manager’s Report Card
    Might need an “Ownership” Report card too … I wasn’t pleased AT ALL that Ted, Inc. gave the boot to The Greene Turtle to replace it with explicitly crooked sports gambling facility – and all built-in right at the Caps’ hockey stadium!

    Like

    • bubbaamyt says:

      Brian MacLellan is an outstanding General Manager. Without him, they do not win the Stanley Cup. His stewardship was absolutely critical.

      Like

  4. Pingback: A Look Back On Pheonix Copley’s First Season With The Capitals | NoVa Caps

  5. Pingback: Capitals’ Lars Eller Nets A Goal In Denmark’s 5-4 Win Over France At IIHF World Championships | NoVa Caps

  6. Pingback: NoVa Caps Roundtable: How To Fix The Capitals This Offseason | NoVa Caps

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