With the 2022-23 regular season now in the books, we can take our annual look at the average roster ages as they sit at the end of the season. We can also compare to the opening night roster ages we detailed at the beginning of the season (here) in order to identify any shifts over the course of the season among the teams.
Average roster ages are dynamic (changing) values throughout the season, with call-ups, injuries, etc., but the values generally stay in the same approximate range for each team. The first table lists the average age of each roster at the close of the 2022-23 season. (Metropolitan Division teams are shaded in light blue).
The Capitals remain the 2nd oldest team in the league, although that is expected to change this summer. This post will provide the baseline for the opening night roster age assessment to be conducted in October.
The Penguins remain the oldest team in the league while the Vancouver Canucks have now become the NHL’s youngest team, with Buffalo falling to number 2.
CHANGE FROM OPENING NIGHT
The next table provides a side-by-side comparison of the average age of NHL rosters on opening night (10/10/2022) on the left, and at the end of the season (4/19/23) on the right.
The Hurricanes dropped from 17th to 23rd youngest team in the league. The Rangers also dropped 8th to 14th, mostly due to trade deadline acquisitions. The change further established a general divide between the younger teams and older teams in the Metropolitan Division.
We will update this table in opening night in October. [data courtesy of CapFriendly]
By Jon Sorensen
Caps are gonna need to ice some high schoolers to balance things out. In all seriousness, NJ is going to be the top of the heap in Metro for next 5 years.
Caps and Pits, Pits and Caps. Read about one and you’re reading about the other.
The cores of these two former powerhouses are in decline. New rods are needed to prevent total meltdown next season. The Caps have started this process and the Pens will have to follow suit as well.
Man, the Caps are ancient. I would’ve preferred to spend the 7 million we’re paying Jensen/TVR on younger players. I guess CMac and Frank are likely to play for the Caps next year. Iorio isn’t far off.
And yet the Tampa Bay Lightning are right there with us. What does that say?
Good coaching. They have been able to overcome being outhustled by younger, faster teams. But it has been getting harder and harder. They have been raiding their draft picks and prospects to try to keep their core together while they lose players around them. If you watch their games you can see the strain.
A majority of the playoff teams are in the older side, which surprised me a little bit. New Jersey and Los Angeles the only two real “young” teams in the postseason.
Current NHL playoffs contain teams at both ends of the Age spectrum. NJD had a spectacular season with baby players. Jon Cooper’s Geritol Bolts are as old as the Caps but far more successful.
Not utilizing franchise-grown players just burns me up. Caps and every other franchise puts mucho effort and bucks into drafting and scouting. It marginalizes these wonderful staffs to not use their assets
Considering the limits that the AHL and ECHL put on ‘veteran’ players, having the second best team in the AHL’s Atlantic division and top team in the ECHL’s South division should say something about the quality of the players in those teams and the training and development that their coaches are providing.
Agree emphatically w novafyre!
In my estimation, the HCPL staffing system — strenuously avoiding using homegrown in-the-system players — was like giving-the-finger to the AHL and ECHL farm teams, and by extension, giving-the-finger to the GM and Wash Caps whole system of drafting and developing. It’s likely that GMBM felt similarly, leading to HCPL’s dismissal.
I’m primed and ready for a new Caps Head Coach who is totally committed to a tightly-knit Caps-Bears-Stingrays “Elite Talent Pipeline.” Don’t care if it’s not totally, instantly championship-successful. It’s the only route to success.
No fair comparing to MLB, but I’ll do it anyway. A winning system is the one utilized by GM Elias. He erected “The Elite Talent Pipeline” utilized by HOU and BAL. Absolutely everything and everybody is synchronized, from the GM himself down to the lowliest equipment manager at “Low A” ball affiliate. That system works. HOU has enjoyed a whole decade of sustained success, and BAL has been tranformed from disgusting loser (with TOTALLY clueless GM) to the #1 farm system and a rising-competitive Parent Club.
Unfortunately, the success of these teams often comes at the expense of drafted prospects playing lesser roles than AHL veterans. A simple explanation for this is the need for these farm teams to stay alive, thus having two opposing forces impacting their decision making. Considering the overall success of the Caps and Pens, their relative draft positions insure that less talented draftees are provided to their respective farm teams.
Age is BS. If you look at the lists almost all of the teams that finished near the bottom are young and almost all of the highly ranked teams are older. There are exceptions, but some players almost never seem to age where others are “old men” by the time they’re 29. It’s skill that matters, and if someone is 37 years old and still playing great, they don’t need to be thrown out.
The average age is not the only indicator of a team’s age. The distribution of age and how old the core players are is also important. In the case of the Caps, their core is relatively old, with Ovi now 37, Backstrom 35, Oshie 36, and Carlson now 33. The most important members are older than their average and many of their current supporting characters are 30-31 years old, too.
The age of the Lightning is closer to their average, with Stamkos 33, Kucherov, 30, Hedman 32, Alex Killorn (33), Brayden Point (26), and Vasilevskiy (28). The Lightning had discovered their core when most were young at the same time, basically Stamkos, Hedman, and the triplets (Kucherov, Palat, and Johnson, with Killorn and important supporting character. Two of the triplets have left over the last two years (Johnson and Palat). But overall, it’s a group that has aged together. (And is analogous to us managing to win with Ovi, Nick B, Semin, Green, Fleischmann, and Fehr). TB will likely reach their Day of Reckoning at some point but they are in better shape since their core players are quite a bit younger than the core players of either the Caps or the Pens (who also have very old core players). This was a subject I wanted to write an article for here but never could quite get it together.