Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan stated in his end-of-season press conference that he wants to assemble a younger roster heading into the 2022-23 season. I think most Capitals fans would agree with his plan.
As a result of MacLellan’s prescribed off-season mission, we began to track the average team ages across the NHL, starting with the end of the 2021-22 season.
The table on the left lists the average team ages at the end of the 2021-22 season (6/8/2022), with Metropolitan Division teams shaded in light blue. The table on the right lists the average team ages as of today (7/14/2022). The table on the right also lists the overall team trend since the end of the 2022 season. [Click to enlarge]
The Capitals average age on the roster increased a tenth of a year after the first day of free agency.
Current Team Rankings
The final table simply ranks each NHL team by average age, again with Metropolitan Division teams shaded in light blue.
The separation between the teams in the Metropolitan Division continues, as the division has two of the top four youngest teams and the three oldest teams in the NHL.
Caveats And Context
The Capitals average age includes Nicklas Backstrom (age 34), who will most likely be placed on long term injured reserve before the start of the season, which will likely drop the Capitals average age.
Re-signing Marcus Johansson (31) and signing Erik Gustafsson (30) did nothing to address the Capitals’ plan to get younger. Connor Brown (28) did address the issue. Cutting ties with Ilya Samsonov (25) and Vitek Vanecek (26) and replacing with Darcy Kuemper (32) and Charlie Lindgren (28) were age-increasing moves.
Still Time For Change
As noted in our first post on the topic back in June, average team age is a moving number, and there are still opportunities for teams (Capitals) to get younger before opening night. I’ll run through this exercise one more time after the start of the season.
Age data courtesy of Cap Friendly.
By Jon Sorensen