Fortunately for the Washington Capitals, they were the healthiest team in the NHL last season when it comes to total man-games lost. Unfortunately for the Capitals the healthy season and opportunity was ultimately squandered in the postseason.
Here is our annual review of Capitals injuries, which includes a summary for the resultant cap-hit for man-games lost, time on ice lost and WAR lost as a direct result of the injuries.
Key injuries for the Washington Capitals during the 2019-20 regular season included:
- Michal Kempny’s late addition to the roster at the beginning of the season due to his thigh injury rehabilitation (8 games),
- Nicklas Backstrom’s early-mid season upper body injury (8 games),
- Carl Hagelin’s early-season stint on the LTIR due to an upper body injury (11 games),
- Nic Dowd’s early season stint on the IR for an upper body injury (8 games), and
- Evgeny Kuznetsov’s late-season upper-body injury (3 games) [Click to enlarge]
As we presented in our annual Capitals’ preseason “Tale of the tape” post, which documents the team’s age, size and height entering the season, the Capitals were the 10th oldest team in the league at the start the 2019-20 season, yet injuries were minimized. This can be a testament to the players and the teams conditioning and preparation for the season.
As you can see in the chart above, another oddity from the season is the fact that a majority of the Capitals man-games lost occurred in the first half of the season, when the team was thriving and a top team in the league, while very few man-games lost occurred in the second half of the season when the team nose-dived and was in the bottom third of the league. (Since “blueprint” game on December 9). An additional layer of context to support the fact that the team was free-falling since mid-December.
Statistically, the man-games lost also had the least affect on the Capitals season with regards to total cap hit, TOI and Wins Above Replacement (WAR). [Click to enlarge]
While the Capitals had the lowest cap hit costs due to injury and lowest TOI (CMiP) in the league last season, there statistical hit to WAR was not the least in the league, but it was one of the lowest values in the league. This adds context to an underachieving team which ultimately fired their head coach at the end of the season.
The Capitals decided not hold their usual “break-down” day media sessions at the end of the postseason. The media sessions typically provide an opportunity for players and media to shed some light on injuries sustained during the regular and postseason. Therefore, additional information on specific injuries is unknown, at least for now.
By Jon Sorensen