Travis Boyd‘s rookie season had a slow and worrying start, but the progress he made is encouraging for 2019-20.
|9.8||time on ice per game|
|49.4||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|45.4||5-on-5 expected goal percentage, adjusted|
|58.3||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:
Around Thanksgiving, I wrote my annual “twenty games in” series, where I maybe panicked a bit about Boyd:
Every measurement we have suggests that he’s overwhelmed out there: the Caps get outshot more than 60:40, the pace of the game skyrockets, and opponents get their shots from more dangerous areas. But the Caps as a team are shooting a team-high 15.8 percent during Boyd’s shifts, which might be masking the trouble. This won’t last, and it will hurt.
So it didn’t last, but it also didn’t hurt. Boyd’s playing context got better as he got more offensive-zone starts, and his performance got better too. He was net-negative player in cumulative on-ice goals for exactly one game (a minus-1 in mid November). By the time the Caps reached their high-water mark — after the trade deadline but before Kempny’s injury — Body was playing pretty damn good hockey for a fourth liner.
But it was still fourth-liner play. Boyd shot less often than any Caps forward except for Chandler Stephenson (who I think might just be allergic to the puck). Boyd didn’t throw hits, but he also didn’t take penalties. He scored five goals, but he needed a shooting percentage of 14 to do it. All the while he enjoyed the highest on-ice shooting and saving percentages outside of Vrana and Kuznetsov.
I don’t mean that to be a downer, and I think Boyd’s early-season struggles might also have been Todd Reirden’s early-season struggles. After auditioning Boyd as Beagle 2.0, Reirden apparently reconsidered. Boyd progressively got less and easier ice time — a cozier context in which he excelled.
I don’t know what to make of that exactly. Reirden retreated from putting his fourth line in high-leverage situations as the season grew, which might have been the sane move considering their struggles. Then again, it might have been a crutch that made life harder for the top-nine forwards. I suppose we’ll find out next season, a make-it-or-break-it contract year for Boyd. I think it’s safe to say we haven’t seen this player meet his full potential yet.
How would you like to see Travis Boyd used? Can he ever become a Beagle 2.0 — or better yet: should he?
Read more: Japers Rink
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.