Assessing The Capitals 2022-23 Strength Of Schedule: The Easiest And Most Difficult Months

Screen cap: ESPN

Following a fairly dismal start to their 2022-23 campaign, the Washington Capitals have now won five-consecutive games and essentially pulled their season out of the fire. The team has battled more injuries than a M*A*S*H unit during the first 31 games played, all while managing to stay in the discussion for postseason play.

The good news is that injured players should continue to return to the lineup, as we have seen with T.J. Oshie, and most recently with of Dmitry Orlov. Next up are Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom and Martin Fehervary.

Also on the good news front is the Capitals schedule ahead, which features the easiest month of the season (January) and the second easiest month of the season (March) based on strength of opponents.

SCHEDULE

The following is breakdown of the Capitals schedule by month. Each game has been given a score that corresponds to the opponents overall ranking in the league based on today’s standings. (For example, the Anaheim Ducks, the league’s worst team, gets a 32).

The values for each game are summed for each month and divided by the total games for the month to derive a final monthly score. The lower the score, the harder the month. [Click to enlarge].

GOOD NEWS

October and November were two of the three most difficult months on the Capitals 2022-23 schedule, based on league rankings as of today. Those two months are now in the rear view mirror and the team is still afloat, and some could argue, even beginning to thrive.

As noted, January and March are two of the three easiest months on the Capitals 2022-23 schedule. This sets up well for Brian MacLellan and his assessment of the team heading into the 2023 trade deadline on March 6. If the Capitals aren’t in the thick of things by the end of January, after the easiest month on the schedule, we will most likely see a sell-off at the deadline.

The team has done what it needed to do in the first 31 games of the season. They battled tremendous adversity and remain very much in the playoff hunt with the easier part of their 2022-23 schedule ahead.

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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9 Responses to Assessing The Capitals 2022-23 Strength Of Schedule: The Easiest And Most Difficult Months

  1. KimRB says:

    Personally, I’d rather have a harder schedule, than an easy one. To be the best, you got to beat the best. Beating up on weak competition is just gonna give an inflated view of the strength of this team. Bad habits could set in. We’ll see (said the blind man).

    • Anonymous says:

      Your logic fails me. Besides, the last month is the toughest of the season.

      • KimRB says:

        Do you follow sports much? Haven’t you seen a team coast into the playoffs, and get beaten badly? I’ll give you an example: 2010 Caps

        “As noted, January and March are two of the three easiest months on the Capitals 2022-23 schedule”

        By “last month” I suppose you mean April. An easy March, and apparently you expect them to flip a switch for six games against good teams. Good luck with that!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Something tells me we are gonna make the postseason

  3. novafyre says:

    Unless injury is an issue, most coaches I have heard want a ramping up schedule. But many NHL teams are battered silly by the time the last month rolls around, and their coaches wish for a light ending.

    Key might be how many teams with a playoff berth guaranteed rest their veterans? If you’re worried about their fitness and want a light workout, you rest them. If you feel that you need to gear up for the playoffs, you continue playing them and trying to win. In my memory, most NHL coaches keep the pedal down.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Semi-agree. If you need to win most of your games in April, the playoffs have already started in a sense. You want all the energy you can gather heading to postseason, and not having expended everything you got to get in.

    • dwgie26 says:

      It’s hard to take your foot off the gas and then just turn it back on. Which is why most keep the pedal down and play their people. Sure there is risk, but you play to win. What i like about this year is that we are fighting for a playoff berth so that keeps you awake.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have to get in the playoffs, then anything can happen. To get in the postseason you need to win games. It’s easier to win games against less-caliber teams.

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