As Pat wrote earlier, how the Washington Capitals line up against the New York Islanders will factor largely in which team escapes the first round. Generating a little more offense and shutting down John Tavares during 5v5 are key.
With that in mind, I thought we’d revisit a fun visualization of how the Caps are most and least effective. I promise it’s pretty.
I first applied this idea, devised by Tyler Dellow, on the woefully top-heavy Oates!Caps. Then, twenty games into this season, I took a look at Trotz’s Caps, who were still pretty amazing at the time. Things have calmed down since then, but it’s still a great exercise.
Here’s how it works. You put your defense along the top and your forwards along the left. You rank each by ice time (I used all situations). Where each forward and defenseman meet, you show the percentage of the total shot attempts the Caps take when those two are on the ice during 5v5. Then you color-code them– from a luscious dark green of possession domination down to the putrid tomato red of getting shelled.
|Color||Combined Shot-Attempt Percentage|
|Above 56.7, like a bawss|
|54.2 to 56.7, elite|
|51.7 to 54.2, good|
|49.2 to 51.7, okay|
|46.7 to 49.2, not so hot|
|Below 46.7, pretty pretty bad|
On a good, well-organized team, the most-used players (at top left) get strong possession and the least-used players (at bottom right), if they’re outshot at all, don’t hurt the team too badly. So that wonderful forest green should be at top left, and hopefully the bottom right isn’t too red.
Here’s how the Capitals look after 82 games. My observations follow.
Before I bust out the bullets, a note on reading this table: I suppose you could use it to look for individual chemistry– which two guys do well together. For me, I like to generalize a bit, and let my eyes glaze over a bit and look for the patterns.
Okay, let’s dance.
Good times. I know I’ve been harping on this a lot, but the Caps have the potential to be even better than they are. In a few years, player development and some expiring contracts will see to that. But the Caps need to be better now if they wanna challenge for a Cup. Those are some of my ideas on how. What do you see?
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