Photo: Ronald Martinez
Sometimes we get questions from readers and other times people just tell us to do stuff.
@russianmachine Make an article on if you think acquiring Tyler Bozak is a good idea. Proposals are Laich and a 2nd
— Menace (@bmoreCapsfan1) July 14, 2015
To be direct, it would be a terrible move to acquire Tyler Bozak because he’s not a very good hockey player.
I would’ve been fine with that response alone, but apparently this rumor’s got legs, so let’s get into it.
On Tuesday, CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley suggested the Caps might be wise to walk away from Marcus Johansson after his upcoming arbitration and use the salary cap space (and a roster player and a prospect) to acquire one of the league’s most overrated players.
If Johansson, who is coming off a career-high 20 goals and 47 points, is awarded $3.8 million or more, the Caps could walk away from the forward and use Johansson’s allotted salary space on another player, like, say, Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.
Tyler Bozak is a special player. He’s not special because he’s good, which he’s not, but because he’s a sterling case study in how isolation affects hockey stats. Isolation is something hockey doesn’t do as easily as baseball, where it’s one batter versus one pitcher. In hockey, there’s too many dudes on the ice at once, so it can sometimes be hard to tell who’s a passenger and who’s actually driving play.
Hey, here’s a photo of Phil Kessel.
Toronto, in its infinite wisdom, played The Thrill, a truly special scorer, next to Bozak a lot over the last few years. It was Bozak’s proximity to Kessel that made Bozak look like a stud.
Bozak spent 86 percent of his 5v5 ice time with Kessel over the last two seasons. They did… okay together. Toronto scored at a rate of 2.76 goals per 60 minutes and allowed 3.07 goals, good for 47.4 percent, outpacing their possession at 45.7 percent thanks to some puck luck.
But when Toronto took Kessel away from Bozak, welp, Toronto got outscored 2-to-1 (2.04 goals for, 4.08 goals against) and had just 37.3 percent possession. They were awful.
There’s a lot nuance we could pore over, but if it’s okay I’ll just refer you to these pitiable and aggrieved Maple Leaf fans, who have documented this well:
No, Bozak is not a good fit for a Washington Capitals team that is looking for one last crack at the Cup before the window closes. Even if acquiring Bozak meant finding a release valve for Brooks Laich’s terrible contract, I can’t see him as an improvement– and if the Caps lose a utility roster player and a promising prospect or a draft pick, it’d be a scandalously poor choice.
A better and simpler choice would be to sign Marcus Johansson to a fair contract with a healthy term. Johansson’s not a lot to look at on the ice, but he’s a solid middle-sixer who has gotten better every season and gets the Caps power play into the offensive zone.
On Tuesday night, WNST’s Ed Frankovic didn’t advocate the Bozak thing, but he found Gormley’s Johansson scenario plausible.
The Caps walking away from a $3.5M+ salary for Marcus Johansson is not far fetched.
— Ed Frankovic (@EdFrankovic) July 15, 2015
I dunno. Aside from the draft, the Capitals have made a lot of great decisions this summer. I don’t think they’ll blow it now.
Checked in with some sources about speculation of Caps walking away from Johansson's arbitration ruling. Simply put: Not happening.
— Alex Prewitt (@alex_prewitt) July 15, 2015
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