Brett Connolly was the Caps’ fifth highest goal-scorer of the playoffs and has put up two 15-goal seasons from the third line. There is nothing here not to love.
|12.0||time on ice per game|
|46.8||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|51.0||5-on-5 goal percentage, adjusted|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the season. A short description of each chart:
My first instinct, aside from the whole championship thing, was to describe 2017-18 as an off-year for Brett Connolly. Gone was the third-line magic that animated last season, wherein Connolly-Eller-Burakovsky was a powerhouse during 5-on-5. But that would be missing the forest for the trees. Brett Connolly was the sixth-highest regular-season goal-scorer on a team that won a championship. That’s a big deal.
Connolly actually improved his scoring from last year, adding four more assists to a goal count (15) that has been steady over the last two seasons. Connolly’s scoring is driven by shooting percentage, not by volume and not by location. He’s scored on 20 percent of his shots over the last two season, but he hardly ranks in the top-10 among Caps forwards in individual rates (i.e. attempts, unblocked, on-goal, scoring chances, high-danger.)
That shooting percentage was one of the biggest reasons why the Caps got 51 percent of goals during Connolly’s shifts despite having just 46.8 percent of shot attempts. Going forward, I’m not discouraged by that. While I suspect that Connolly won’t be able to sustain one goal for every five shots he takes, and while he doesn’t appear to be the primary play-driver on his line, the pattern of Connolly’s play was likely depressed by the systemic problems that plagued the Caps through the first three quarters of the season.
In the postseason, everything worked. Connolly’s line controlled play (55.4 percent of attempts) and were rewarded for it (60.4 percent of goals), with Connolly personally recording six. There seems to be genuine chemistry between him and Lars Eller, and it’s the duty of the Caps’ next head coach to protect it.
If at first you don't succeed… try, try, try again! #CapsJackets #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/6S3b5cfXNW
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 15, 2018
As Connolly enters a contract year with two 15-goal outings behind him, what’s a fair expectation for him?
Read more: Japers’ Rink
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk
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