We now know who the Washington Capitals will protect in the expansion draft. Not among those players is Nate Schmidt, a defenseman who scored three goals this season.
The Las Vegas Knights and their general manager George McPhee might choose to draft Schmidt this week, but do they really know what they’d be getting?
Here are some important facts that Vegas should consider.
Schmidt has long been on the record for not liking dogs. “I just don’t think they’re that great,” Schmidt definitely told journalist and sound expert Dan Kingerski. “I don’t see what the big fuss is all about.”
Schmidt reportedly refused to participate in the 2015 canine calendar. His presence in the 2016 calendar was an obvious example of computer graphics trickery.
You can tell by the pixels.
Schmidt failed to have any impact in one full quarter of the season, putting up statistics in just 60 games.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 18, 2017
How can George McPhee expect Schmidt to lead the Vegas defense when he refused to contribute at all in 22 games this season?
With only 36 takeaways during the regular season, Schmidt had the fifth lowest total among full-time Caps defensemen.
Simply put, Schmidt was bad at getting the puck back from the other team when the other team had it, and that was a main reason why he also had the sixth worst goals-against rate among all full-time Caps defensemen.
The Caps deserve better, and so do the Golden Knights.
According to the NHL statistics site, Schmidt recorded just 0.9 hits per game. That is less than a single hit per game, and ranks him 135th out of 187 defensemen who played at least 41 games.
Why? Did Schmidt have something better to do? For all the talk of so-called advanced statistics and goal ratios, there’s still something to be said for grit. Period.
Need I say more? If Schmidt can’t respect the smooth tunes of Seals and Crofts, then how can he respect head coach Gerard Gallant? He can’t, because he’s a punk. He already admitted it – with his hair.
Instead of working on his own performance, Schmidt took a cue from former Caps coach Adam Oates and meddled with the team’s goalies. Schmidt went as far as demanding to be named an official member of the coaching staff – pageantry and all.
Photo: Chris Gordon
That’s one of the many, many reasons why Schmidt had the sixth worst goals-for percentage on the entire full-time defensive roster.
German Caps goalie Philipp Grubauer, whose save percentage was among the very best in the entire league this season despite his mystifying role as the team’s backup goalie, didn’t think himself too good to participate in Verizon Center’s German Heritage Night, but that’s just the kind of guy he is: all character, a good guy to have in the room, gets pucks deep, 110 percent, it’s a team game, excellent goalie.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 2, 2016
Can’t say the same for Schmidt, who was born in Minnesota, where 38.6 percent of the population claims some German heritage, possibly even including Schmidt – if he ever gets around to releasing his long-form ancestry form. Schmidt was nowhere to be seen in the night’s events. Even worse: he was a minus-1 that game.
With just 200 NHL games under his belt, Schmidt’s record as a leader on and off the ice are still in doubt. Unlike with established players like Orpik and Beagle for whom intangibles provide a specific and predictable amount of inspiration to teammates over the course of a season, Schmidt’s intangibles are still unclear and indefinite.
That level of uncertainty around intangibles makes Schmidt a gamble. Is he the kind of guy in the room who will say the right thing at the right time? We just don’t know. The Caps – and the Golden Knights – need a defenseman whose intangibles are demonstrable now.
Possible degenerate? Sources say maybe. (Photo: Chris Gordon)
Nate Schmidt is a loose cannon, I’ve always said so. If he had hand tattoos and a genetically enhanced cat, then I’d probably recommend him for a buyout. That’s not the case, thank goodness, so a modest four- or five-year contract will have to suffice – once Vegas does the wise thing and passes him by.
Headline photo: That is what Schmidt looks like in every single photo
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