Taylor Chorney scored on Sunday night to give the Capitals a win over the Ottawa Senators. The game-winner was a great release from far out to become Chorney’s first goal of the season.
That performance gives Barry Trotz a conundrum: When the Caps host the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, should Chorney get another sweater, or should he play Sunday’s healthy scratch, Nate Schmidt, instead?
Another way to ask that question would be this: Should the Capitals ice one of the league’s worst defensive pairs or one of the best?
Whoever gets tapped on Tuesday will probably line up next to Brooks Orpik, who is having an excellent season in his own right.
So here’s how Taylor Chorney and Nate Schmidt have played next to Orpik this season.
|Time on ice||68.8||341.7|
|Shot attempt %||43.0%||58.5%|
|Caps attempts / 60||50.4||60.3|
|Opponent attempts / 60||66.8||42.7|
|Scoring chances %||23.2%||62.8%|
|Caps chances / 60||3.7||10.1|
|Opponent chances / 60||12.2||6.0|
|Caps goal %||100.0%||63.5%|
|Caps goals / 60||1.8||2.1|
|Opponent goals / 60||0.0||1.2|
Opponents have put 41 shots on goal during the roughly 69 (nice) minutes Chorney and Orpik have skated together, but Philipp Grubauer and Braden Holtby have stopped every one. Besides that stat, Schmidt and Orpik have the edge in every stat.
But those numbers can be hard to intuit, and we’ve already looked at how the pairings compare to each other. So here’s an idea for new context.
There are 176 defensemen who have played at least 300 minutes this season. Instead of percentages and rates, let’s show how those same pairings would rank among the 176 — if they were a single player.
|Shot attempt %||173rd||3rd|
|Caps attempts / 60||148th||39th|
|Opponent attempts / 60||173rd||1st|
|Scoring chances %||176th||2nd|
|Caps chances / 60||176th||30th|
|Opponent chances / 60||174th||10th|
|Caps goal %||1st||11th|
|Caps goals / 60||151st||109th|
|Opponent goals / 60||1st||3rd|
Caveat: With only approximately 69 (nice) minutes, Chorney and Orpik’s sample size is much smaller than the players they’re being compared to.
Schmidt and Orpik get third pairing minutes, but they are manifestly among the very best defensive duos in the league this season. Not only should Nate Schmidt get a jersey every single night, but he and Brooks Orpik should get a bigger workload. They’re ready for it.
Headline photo: Ned Dishman
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