Dmitrij Jaskin is a big, cheap forward with a good reputation and even better numbers — but the coach won’t play him.
|10.1||time on ice per game|
|51.2||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|48.4||5-on-5 expected goal percentage, adjusted|
|42.3||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:
Brian MacLellan apparently didn’t love his forward depth entering the season, so he picked Jaskin off the waiver wire. At 6’2″ and 220 lbs, Jaskin is everything you want from a defensive forward and his stats bear that out. In the early returns, Jaskin made the Caps look like a totally different team — a better one to be precise.
And, to my surprise, his offensive numbers were excellent too — mostly. Using Natural Stat Trick data, here’s how Jaskin rates at different individual offense process stats among Caps forwards during five-on-five:
|Offense Type||Per Hour||Rank|
|Shots on goal||7.6||5|
Jaskin’s contributions were massive, but he lacked two things: luck at finishing and any help whatsoever. Jaskin’s individual offense accounted for 26 percent of the Caps’ on-ice offense — a bigger share than anyone except Ovechkin. And Jaskin was viciously snake-bit, shooting 4.4 percent, lowest by far among Caps forwards. All that effort for nothing.
Jaskin’s PDO, the sum of his team’s shooting and saving percentages, was 98.0, lowest among all Caps forwards outside Chandler Stephenson. His on-ice save percentage was the lowest among all Caps, 90.5 percent, despite him allowing opponents 4.8 fewer high-danger chances per hour than Evgeny Kuznetsov, who somehow enjoyed a 92.7 save percentage.
That’s just abysmal luck, and that’s why — I guess– Jaskin got perma-benched despite having a uniformly positive impact on basically every underlying stat humans can think of. For example, with Jaskin every fourth-line forward was above 50 percent in shot attempts, but without him every fourth-line forward was just barely above the mendoza line of 40 percent.
The bad shooting and saving percentages with Jaskin and the horribad play without Jaskin may have been significant reasons why Reirden increasingly mistrusted his fourth line and increasingly relied on his overworked top six as the season wore on.
I think it’s — like — really, really apparent that Jaskin is a fine utility player, and while I can very easily understand why his coach became skeptical about him, I’m at a total loss as to why his situation became such an intractable conflict pitting coach against player, coach against GM, and even player against player.
At 11:53 AM on February 20, Caps senior writer Mike Vogel said he was told that the Caps were about to put Jaskin on waivers. That made sense, albeit regrettably, as Jaskin was specifically called out by his coach one week prior. Multiple beat writers confirmed the report. That was the plan, but it didn’t happen.
A couple minutes after noon, we learned that it was Devante Smith-Pelly who was actually put on waivers, a stunning reversal.
I doubt we’ll ever know the full story of what happened that day. The coach and GM were both cagey and euphemistic about it, but it sure looks like they were not and still are not on the same page about Jaskin, and Jaskin’s own breakdown-day interview made it clear that he is frustrated about how his season went, and it seems that some of Jaskin’s teammates may have even advocated for him that morning. The whole thing is a mess, but here’s something we do know for sure: though he stayed, Jaskin did not play again until the final game of the regular season, almost two months later. He remained a Caps player in name only.
Jaskin is a restricted free agent. It’s more likely than not that he’ll be on the roster next season, but whether he’ll be on the ice is another matter.
So, um, what the heck happened on February 20?
Read more: Japers Rink
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