Evaluating Dylan Strome’s Performance Through The First 30 Games Of The Capitals 2022-23 Season

Coming off of a solid 2021-22 campaign with the Chicago Blackhawks where he posted 22 goals, 26 assists, and 48 points in 69 games, Dylan Strome was non-tendered by his former squad at the end of last season.

In what was a painfully head-scratching move by the rebuilding Blackhawks, Strome entered the unrestricted free agency market. Luckily  for the Capitals and General Manager Brian MacLellan, signing Strome was one of the easiest low-risk, high-reward transactions of the summer.

The Capitals and Strome entered into a one-year contract worth $3.5M against the salary cap. As a nice cherry on top of the deal, Strome will be a restricted free agent after this season, allowing the Capitals the flexibility to extend Strome while having team control this summer.

Chicago’s brain-numbing decision to non-tender Strome was a stroke of luck for the Capitals with Nicklas Backstrom on the long-term injury list for the foreseeable future. They picked up a solid top-six center with wing flexibility who had experience playing with some of the top talent in the league in Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat.

In this post, we’ll be taking a dive into Strome’s performance so far this season. The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, Evolving Hockey, Hockey Reference, and HockeyViz. If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary.

Player Value

First up, let’s take a look at how Strome has performed in terms of Goals Above Replacement (GAR) and Regularized Adjusted Plus-Minus (RAPM). These metrics help us encapsulate the entire performance of a player outside of just individual scoring production.

Here’s how Strome’s GAR value stacks up against his peers in the forward group on the Capitals: [Click to enlarge]

Strome ranks second on the team among forwards in total GAR, trailing only Nic Dowd. Strome boasts a 3.3 offensive GAR, which ranks second on the team behind Conor Sheary. He is also top-four among Capitals forwards in even-strength defensive GAR (1.0), which is solid considering his typical linemates in Sheary (-1.3) and Alex Ovechkin (-1.8) struggle in that regard.

The good news here is, Strome has proven to be defensively reliable in a system and under a head coach that demands a solid 200-foot game from his players.

Now, let’s take a look at Strome’s RAPM:

During even strength, Strome fares pretty well in most regards, outside of Corsi Against per 60 minutes (CA/60). This isn’t exactly against expectations, since, as mentioned previously, he’s on a line with Sheary and Ovechkin who aren’t exactly defensive dynamos.

We’ll get more into the possession stats a bit later, but there’s certainly nothing concerning about Strome’s performance during even-strength play. One thing to note here is that his goals for per 60 (GF/60) trails a bit behind his expected goals for per 60 (xGF/60), which can be an indicator that an increase in offensive production may be on its way.

On the right side of the graphic above, we can see that Strome is very effective on the power play. This can also be proven by the fact that Strome is second on the Capitals’ forwards in power play offensive GAR, trailing only Conor Sheary.

Strome adds a ton of value, offensively, on the power play, and has shown to be rather interchangeable with Evgeny Kuznetsov on the half-wall or at the goal line extended below the face-off dot.

Here’s Strome’s isolated impact, courtesy of HockeyViz:

Long story short in the graphic above is that Strome provides a solid lift to the Capitals’ offensive xGF/60 during even-strength when accounting for his teammates, his competition, and coaching. A higher volume of shots is concentrated in the highest danger areas between the face-off dots in the low slot as well.

Possession Stats

Here’s how Strome has fared in possession stats over the past three seasons:

Strome is outperforming his Corsi For percentage (CF%), xGF%, and high-danger chance for percentage (HDCF%) this season, compared to the two prior. The increase in HDCF% rates are going to drive xGF% up, so it’s not surprising to see that Strome is posting a 51.71 xGF% this season, when the Capitals control the majority of high-danger chances while he’s on the ice.

The GF% is trailing quite a bit behind his xGF%, which should be an indicator that an increase in offensive production should soon follow.

It’s not statistically likely that the Capitals will continue to trend at a -10% differential between GF and xGF for the entirety of the season, especially as the roster gets healthier. The best may yet to come for Strome in that regard.

Conclusion

The Capitals’ acquisition of Dylan Strome might be one of the highest returns on investment in terms of player-value across the league from this off-season. Strome only makes $3.5M against the cap, so his positional flexibility and current performance should land him a long-term contract with the Capitals.

Strome has been consistently one of the best players on the ice for the Caps, and if these numbers trend in the direction we’re seeing, will likely stay that way for the remainder of the season.

By Justin Trudel

About Justin Trudel

Justin is a lifelong Caps fan, with some of his first memories of the sport watching the team in the USAir Arena and the 1998 Stanley Cup appearance. Now a resident of St. Augustine, FL, Justin watches the Caps from afar. Justin graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Political Science from Towson University, and a Master's of Science in Applied Information Technology from Towson University. Justin is currently a product manager. Justin enjoys geeking out over advanced analytics, roster construction, and cap management.
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21 Responses to Evaluating Dylan Strome’s Performance Through The First 30 Games Of The Capitals 2022-23 Season

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have liked Strome since day 1 and hope he is extended along with Milano and Sheary. After this season, Eller is gone and hope either Protas or CMM slides in there.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I like all of this. ☝️

    • KimRB says:

      Not sure I’m down with signing BOTH Milano and Sheary. One or the other makes more sense

    • hockeydruid says:

      I would love to see the Caps resign Strom to a 6 or 7 year deal. Yes resign both Milano and Sheary. Also need to resign Alexeyev, Fehervery, Gustafsson and Orlov. The rest of the bunch of RFA/UFA can be traded along with Carlson. Get whatever they can for the players as something is better than nothing!! Backy retires. That frees up a lot of money to resign players and maybe bring in a UFA or 2 but also give some of the guys in Hershey a chance to play with a new HC and hopefully new GM. One other player to trade IMHO would be Kuemper if they think Hunter or Fucale can play backup to Lindgren.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Blackhawks not qualifying Strome truly is a mystery. Since he is an RFA, I believe they needed to offer 3.5 again? Or was it 3.5 x 10%? I can’t remember the rule. Either way, that’s seems very reasonable.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Blackhawks management is a disgrace. Thanks for nothing Kyle Davidson.

    • redLitYogi says:

      they traded DeBrincat and Kirby Dach also. All of that spells “tank.” They want a rebuild and having a serviceable center runs counter to that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Blackhawks right now are the Cleveland Browns of the NHL.

  5. JK Hendricks says:

    Great piece. If there was a stat for “energy on ice”, I’m pretty sure Strome would lead. Bright spot so far this season for sure. I hope he has 5 goals against the Blackhawks tonight to reinforce what a bad decision they made letting him go. I’ll be there rooting him and the boys on.

  6. hockeydruid says:

    Have liked his as our #1 C and to be honest his numbers are the same as Kuzy and a lot cheaper. The only number that Im concerned about is his +- as it is at 11 however that is the same as Ovie so not going to really worry about that. Hope that whoever is the GM over the summer has the smarts to resign him long term.

  7. KimRB says:

    Trade Eller at the deadline. He could fetch a decent return, having a very productive playoff past. Not saying he’s going to duplicate that, but GMs will overpay for it. Hopefully a 2nd rounder. So if Backy comes back close to 100% (I know, big If), we can go Kuz, Strome, Backy, Dowd.

    I’ll take it

    • redLitYogi says:

      if they could get a 2nd rounder for Tiger, I think they’d make that trade three times and draft three players. But it’s unlikely any team would offer anything for Eller at this point. What would he add? He’s a good player and either he retires, signs on somewhere as a UFA on a team that needs a bit of help, or he goes and plays back home in Europe.

      • KimRB says:

        His pedigree will fetch the team something. Name me a player or two who has a double OT goal, a Stanley Cup clinching goal and time as a 2nd line center on a Cup winning team, and is on an expiring contract?

        Dallas wants a forward or two, they’re primed for a deep run.

        Maybe I’m being over optimistic, but saying he’ll fetch NOTHING is ludicrous. Look what we gave up for Mojo last deadline, and he doesn’t have nearly the pedigree Lars has

  8. Dan H says:

    I think GM slow plays it a little to see how free agency plays out. I hope they tender him and eventually give him something like 3 years at 4.5m. But it does leave for an interesting situation if backy plays next year. Lots of centers then. If GM tries to sigh a #1 C that could change everything. This roster will be drastically different next year.

  9. redLitYogi says:

    Strome has been great in his role as a placeholder for Backstrom this year and he’s earned a raise from his 3.5 mil hit. Whether the Caps should be the one to pay him is the question. If Backstrom does miraculously return to a reasonable approximation of who he once was, I’d say no. I think Protas has shown enough to be Eller’s replacement and Protas would be more useful in that role than either Strome or Backstrom. If Backstrom cannot play than I’d let McMichael and/or Lapierre have the chance to be his replacement. So we’d then have Kuznetsov, Lapierre or McMichael, Backstrom, and Dowd.

    • redLitYogi says:

      I contradicted myself: I mean, Kuznetsov, McMichael or Lapierre, Protas, and Dowd down the middle. If Backstrom is healthy, he’s the 2C instead.

    • With the roster turnover impending for the Capitals after the season (6 forwards are pending UFAs, with Strome being an RFA), having a wealth of position flexible players is going to be a commodity. It’s hard to say whether Backstrom will come back at a high level of performance since the hip resurfacing surgery hasn’t resulted in the extension of careers in the past for those who’ve received them.

      There’s a solid chance the Capitals get a bit younger up front next season with McMichael and Lapierre making their way to the NHL. The defensive corps is where it gets interesting, since Carlson is the only defenseman under contract past this season currently.

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