There is a lot of concern for the Caps play so far in 2016-17. After a dominant 2015-16, they’re looking strangely mortal in 2016-17.
There are reasons why it feels this way, and many of those reasons are valid. But, from a high-level view, the Caps’ problems have not been during 5-on-5 play. The issue with the Caps this season is their effectiveness — or lack thereof — on special teams.
Here’s how the Caps have performed this season compared to last season in three key categories at 5-on-5: shot attempt percentage, scoring chance percentage, and goals for percentage.
This season, the Caps are seeing a larger share of the overall shot attempts, scoring chances, and goals at 5-on-5 compared to last season. That’s not to say there aren’t things that need improvement, but it does suggest the process is stronger than it often gets credit for.
But a look at special teams, again from a high level, suggests that many of the Caps issues are here.
|Season||PP %||PK %||Goal Differential*|
*The goal differential is just PP goals for and PK goals against. It does not include shorthanded goals.
The Caps’ percentages on special teams, so far, are a net negative. They’re on pace to finish about minus-7 in special teams goal differential, a difference of 25 goals over the course of the season. A little under five goals equals a win, so the special teams are currently on pace to cost the Caps a little over 10 points in the standings.
This isn’t to say that the Caps should be satisfied with their play at 5-on-5 and there’s a lot of digging to do in terms of why the special teams have been so bad. But, from this broad view, it sure seems like many of the Caps’ issues are on special teams.
Headline Photo: Patrick McDermott
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