Christian Djoos was a bright spot on a troubled Caps blue line, but two shadows fell on him in 2018-19: one a serious leg injury, the other some bad bounces in big games.
|13.6||time on ice per game|
|49.8||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|46.1||5-on-5 expected goal percentage, adjusted|
|60.3||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:
I was very encouraged about Washington’s blue line entering 2018-19, and then I was methodically disabused of that good feeling over time. Niskanen failed to bounce back, Kempny had discipline problems, and then in December Christian Djoos totally wrecked his leg. That exit put the Caps in an odd position. I think Pat put it best:
The results with Djoos vary from playable to great. The results without are all pretty dismal.
Dismal is a great way to put it. Djoos, when he was playing his best, pulled up depth defenders to respectable levels and dominated with top players. Here are on-ice shot-attempt percentages for Djoos’ main partners.
|Partner||With Djoos||Without Djoos||Difference||% Time with Djoos|
Being Djoos’ partner was a cushy gig, which made it all the more devastating when he missed a month and a half of hockey to compartment syndrome and surgery. Some might say Djoos wasn’t the same after the injury, but I’m not so sure.
Djoos’ numbers took a dip before he got hurt — when he got assigned Madison Bowey duty — not after. When Djoos returned, he remained a bit below even in expected goals, though I still liked his performance. He had very different duties when skating with Brooks Orpik versus with John Carlson, but he had a positive impact on both.
The Orpik-Djoos pairing got into trouble in the postseason when Carolina’s forecheck trapped Orpik in board battles below the circles, leaving Djoos to clear the crease alone, resulting in four Canes goals. But that was a strategic failure and a skill mismatch, not a condemnation of the player. Nonetheless, Djoos got scratched and did not play into the final four games of the postseason. That’s a shame, but it’s not Djoos’s shame. With a summer to complete his recovery and a reset come October, I’ll be back to being very encouraged about this defense next season.
What is the right role and who is the right partner for Djoos? How did the injury and playoff disappointment color your expectations for him?
Read more: Japers Rink
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