The Washington Capitals headed into the 2020-21 season with the NHL’s oldest roster with an average age of 30.5 years old, nearly two years up on the next oldest (Toronto Maple Leafs: 28.6). Six weeks into the season, they rank third in the NHL 103 man-games lost due to injury and illness according to Man Games Lost.
As of Wednesday, only the Chicago Blackhawks (134) and St. Louis Blues (107) have more man-games lost than the Capitals this season while those two and the Detroit Red Wings (101) are the only other team to hit the 100-game mark in the category.
The Capitals have had several key absences due to injury and COVID-19 this season, including center Evgeny Kuznetsov (eight games), goaltender Ilya Samsonov (eight), captain Alex Ovechkin (four), center Lars Eller (four), defenseman Justin Schultz (four), defenseman Dmitry Orlov (four), forward Tom Wilson (two), forward Jakub Vrana (one), forward T.J. Oshie (one), and forward Conor Sheary (one).
This is one year after they were last in the NHL in the category by 24 games with just 57.
The Montreal Canadiens are last in the league in man-games lost with only seven to date, 12 fewer than the next most injury-prone team (Calgary Flames). No Canadian team has had any COVID-19 outbreak this season yet. Out of the 24 American teams, the Florida Panthers have the fewest man-games lost with just 25 to date, quite impressive since Miami-Dade County is one of the worst in the country in COVID-19 cases. The Vegas Golden Knights, who lead the West Division, are tied with the Ottawa Senators for the fourth-lowest in the category with 27 despite having their season paused due to COVID-19 last month.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, who trail the Capitals by three points in the East Division standings, are also right behind them when it comes to man-games lost with 99 and 98, respectively. The Boston Bruins, who are tied with the Capitals for the division lead, are at around 60 man-games lost due to injury and illness while the New York Islanders, who are one point behind both teams, are one of the healthiest with only around 30 man-games lost.
The New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, who both had pauses in their schedules in February due to COVID-19, both have just under 50 man-games lost due to injury and illness with the New York Rangers ahead of them at around 60.
The league-leading Maple Leafs are at around 65 man-games lost, which is close to the NHL average.
You can see the table below to view where all NHL teams are in man-games lost so far this season.
By Harrison Brown