Shifts In Team Age After Day 1 Of NHL Free Agency

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

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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26 Responses to Shifts In Team Age After Day 1 Of NHL Free Agency

  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the lottery will be good to us and we’ll get the number 1 pick. This roster is going nowhere. Trade deadline sellers is how we will get younger.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Lol, let’s hope we don’t have a lottery pick next year. Agree, trade deadline is an opportunity to get younger. There is also a couple of chances to replace and older vet with a younger/prospect. Fore opening night.

  2. novafyre says:

    I hear the Caps saying that they want to be younger but I just don’t see the proof of that. They love older vets. Mac, Lavi, all of them. I guess we’ll know for sure when we see who gets what ice time when the season actually starts, but right now I’m not encouraged.

    Why MoJo? That signing makes no sense to me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Looking at roster there is no place for the Hershey youngsters except possibly 6th D. No room for Protas or Leasson. Dump 30 year old- Eller, Mojo, Sheary, Oshie, Hathaway, Jensen – for picks or youth. Then we have a rebuild.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m pretty sure the main reason the Caps roster aged by one month over the past month is that a month has passed. But I’m not a mathematician.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not a factor. All teams aged. It’s more a direct result of age of players they signed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Time passing is not a factor in the team’s average age increasing? Interesting theory.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are still missing it, but like you said, math isn’t your specialty. Your incorrect initial comment said you were sure the capitals aging just a 0.1 years was the month that lapsed. All teams aged 0.1 years. The primary factors are the players acquired. If they brought in 5 25 year olds it would have dropped significantly. The fact it increased 0.1 is coincidence, as they changed out 5 players yesterday.

          • Anonymous says:

            So you’re not going to believe this, but if you sum up all the differences in team ages and just take the average change over the past month, the average team got a month older!!! Crazy, right?

  5. Rob says:

    Flipping out 2 younger goalies for 2 older goalies that can actually play is the reason for the increase in average age and none of us should have a problem with that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think anybody does. It’s the other old player acquisitions that hurt

      • Rob says:

        Brown is younger than Larsson. Gustafsson is younger than Schultz. Who are you talking about?

        • Anonymous says:

          MoJo, Irwin, to start. They were UFA’s.

          • Rob says:

            Not a big fan of MoJo 3.0 but he’s 31 which makes him the 6th oldest forward on the team but he’s bottom 6 depth and Irwin is injury depth at best so I don’t see them as a big part of the team.

  6. Marky says:

    Did they lose the Panthers’ series because they were old and tired or because they had some defense and goaltending lapses? Getting younger won’t solve that. Getting better players will. Bmac improved goaltending. The jury is out on this defense. It should get them 100 points again and the playoffs barring unforeseen issues or injury, but age in and of itself here isn’t the reason. I would look at trade deadline and next summer as the big one in terms of moving aging vets or opportunities for a bigger youth movement because their will be many more openings available for young players to seize full time roster spots.
    Btw, I am all for this, but next year. I still want them to keep Orlov, but other than him, they can clear the others out and put younger in.

  7. BSL says:

    Nice article. Thanks for posting.

  8. Lance says:

    The good news is we have a solid and deep group of forwards and our goaltending should be better.

    The bad news: fix the damn D corps, BMac!

    For the forwards, we should be in a position of strength. If 3 or 4 guys from Hershey are ready then we can make a few trades and get younger that way. If Protas, Leason, Snively, Lapierre and/or Pilon are ready for the NHL game then BMac can deal Eller, MoJo. I think Oshie stays. He’s a Caps legend and still rocks when he’s healthy. I can imagine trading Mantha but he’s still fairly young. Not sure how that helps.

    Everyone in Ottawa loves Connor Brown. They say he’s a heart and soul player. Strong defensively. Good on the PK. Will score 15+ goals.

    Ovie Kuzy Brown/Wilson
    Mantha CMac Oshie
    Sheary Eller Mojo/Snively
    Pilon/Protas Dowd Hathaway

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is there some reason that Backstrom has not been placed on LTIR yet? What am I missing? He has about a 5% chance of playing in the playoffs next spring. Why not scrap this year, and focus on true recovery and see what happens next season? This seems to be a huge area of focus when we are cap strapped and one that could be easily addressed.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Teams can be 10% over during the off-season, and need to be at/below salary cap by 5PM the day before the season opens, so there is no real rush. I suspect you will see it happen nearer to opening night.

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