Photo: Amanda Bowen
The Caps lost a few really important penalty killers this offseason, meaning Barry Trotz will have to entrust different players with those minutes in 2015-16. Last season, the Caps allowed 79.1 shot attempts per 60 when shorthanded, fifth worst in the league. The Caps three best shot-suppressing forwards when shorthanded were Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer, and Eric Fehr, but all three of these players have moved on to new teams.
This could mean an increase in PK minutes for returning players such as Jay Beagle, Brooks Laich, and Jason Chimera, but Trotz also has newcomers he can plug into the PK vacancies. And, so far, he has. TJ Oshie and Justin Williams have both spent time on the PK during the preseason.
Let’s take a look at what Oshie and Williams have done in the past as penalty killers to see if they’d be viable options for Trotz this season.
The sample below is shorthanded minutes from the start of the 2012-13 season through the present. Oshie has spent 263 minutes killing penalties during this time while Williams’ sample is 75 minutes. The blue bar is how many unblocked shot attempts per sixty minutes each player’s respective team allowed while that player was on the ice shorthanded. The red bar is how many unblocked shot attempts per 60 the team allowed overall while shorthanded.
The Blues suppressed shots a bit better with Oshie off the ice than with him on, but the Blues were the best shot-suppressing team in the NHL over the past three seasons, so Oshie’s numbers are decent. Meanwhile, the Kings suppressed shots noticeably better with Williams on the ice killing penalties and probably should have used him more.
Trotz will have to find a way to fill a void left by his three best shot-suppressing forward last season. Oshie and Williams are two options he has taken a look at this preseason who would likely be good options to stick with once the regular season begins.
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