Michal Kempny‘s thighs were critical to Washington’s Stanley Cup championship, and those same thighs were ruinous to their hopes to repeat.
|19.2||time on ice per game|
|51.5||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|48.4||5-on-5 expected goal percentage, adjusted|
|56.8||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:
While it was happening, I was pretty wishy-washy about Michal Kempny’s sophomore season with the Washington Capitals. But once it was over I realized I was hung up on the wrong stuff and failed to appreciate everything that was working — which was a lot.
I was fixated on penalties, which Kempny had a problem with. He got busted for 30 minors, most among the Caps defense by far and a huge spike upwards for him personally. When the Caps were slumping during the midseason, Kempny’s discipline without the puck was a real factor in why.
But that’s just one tangible detail, and I should be more careful not to let it obscure an overall successful outing. Kempny and Carlson were a high-event pairing, meaning both teams got a lot of shot attempts when they were on the ice. And though the Caps got a larger share of those attempts, when you account for shot quality they didn’t do quite so great.
Here are HockeyViz heatmaps for the Caps (left) and their opponents (right).
That big red blob at bottom right means that Carlson and Kempny had a hard time keeping pucks out of the slot. But beyond the balance of offense and defense, the left-right split of each map is pretty interesting. On offense, we can see a red blob along the left side of the blue line: that’s Kempny making a ton of shots from the point. And on defense, we can see Kempny successfully calming opponents on his side of the ice. (The same isn’t true on Carlson’s side.)
That’s all a roundabout way of saying that I think Michal Kempny was a good influence on John Carlson. But Christian Djoos has also proven himself to be the same. I wonder if, going forward, there might be a better way to combine these talents. Aside from needing to get more careful with his stick, Kempny might be up to the job of top-pair shutdown defense.
That’s assuming he’s healthy come October. As you’ll see below, this season was a punishment parade for Kempny, even before he tore his hamstring — ending his season and effectively quashing the team’s repeat hopes.
A massive bummer, but Kempny’s future is still bright, as long he takes care of himself this summer.
(See if you can detect the theme here.)
I know we’ve done this a bunch already, but hit me with those D pairings. Writing these reviews is helping me organize my thoughts.
Read more: Japers Rink
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