Forward Facing Snapshot: Capitals Forwards For The 2022-23 Season

In today’s statistical snapshot we take a first look back at the Washington Capitals forward group and their scoring this season; more specifically their points per minute of ice time and their expected goals performance for the 2022-23 season. The post is intended to provide an initial assessment and supplement follow-up analysis of the Capitals forwards coming in the next few days.


We begin with a look at five-on-five scoring among all Capitals skaters in order to get a big picture sense of who put points on the board and at the best rates. The following graph is presented in points per minute of ice time, in order to allow for a direct comparison among all skaters. [Click to enalrge].

The top few forwards are probably no surprise, although Nic Dowd, who gets little scoring credit among many fans, had the fourth-best rate, followed by Rasmus Sandin, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

But let’s refine the focus to just the forwards for today, and more specifically how they performed in various possession metrics.


The following table plots the points/60, xGF/60, xGF-xGA, GF – xGF and xGF% for each of the Capitals forwards at five-on-five. [Click to enlarge]

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, MoneyPuck and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary]

Points Per 60

The first column (Light-blue) simply presents the scoring rates at five-on-five for each of the Capitals forwards, normalized for 60 minutes in order to provide a relative comparison. To no surprise, Alex Ovechkin led the way, closely followed by Dylan Strome, Sonny Milano and Nic Dowd.

Expected Goals For Per 60

The second column (blue-grey) plots the expected goals for each Capitals forward, also normalized per 60 for direct comparison. Once again, to little surprise, captain Alex Ovechkin led the way in expected goals for per 60, closely followed by Dylan Strome. Conor Sheary was third, which may be a surprise to some, followed by Craig Smith.

Expected Goals Differential

The third column (red) plots each forwards expected goals differential (xGF – xGA) at five on five. The stat is helpful for determining how the Capitals perform when each individual player is on the ice. A positive differential suggest the Capitals are spending more time in the offensive zone when that player is on the ice. The opposite it true for negative values.

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s negative differential (-14.74) jumps off the graph, while Aliaksei Protas and Anthony Mantha’s positive differentials may be a surprise to some, as they were generating more chances than the opposition when they were on the ice. Protas and Mantha finished the season with the forward’s best expected goals for percentage detailed in the final column (Orange).

The down side for Protas and Mantha was the “finishing” which is represented in the fourth column (blue). Finishing presents insight on conversion rates for those chances that each player were generating.


The next post will take a look at the performance of each and every Capitals line combination deployed this past season.

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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4 Responses to Forward Facing Snapshot: Capitals Forwards For The 2022-23 Season

  1. hockeydruid says:

    What is most interesting will be if the new HC does not have to face all the injuries and lost games and several rookies make the team and he goes with basically set lines how the scoring will be next year. I believe that some of the problems this past year can be traced to PL constantly changing lines.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not awful numbers for Backstrom. But at 9.2…😬

  3. Dave says:

    To me, the top line next year (assuming it’s Ovi-Strome-Wilson) looks really strong. From what I understand, the fourth line is also one of the best in the league. It’s the middle six where there seems to be an issue. With Kuzy (if he gets his head screwed on straight) and Backstrom (after a full offseason of health and training for the first time in quite a few years), along with Smith, Brown and a perhaps healthier Oshie, it could surprise. It’s certainly possible one or both of them could be moved/retired next season but as of now it seems next season is really riding on those two.

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