Alex Oveckin was created by god for the twin purposes of love to celebration, love to goals, but stuff keeps getting in the way.
|20.7||time on ice per game|
|50.9||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|50.5||5-on-5 expected goal percentage, adjusted|
|47.5||5-on-5 goal percentage, adjusted|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows lots of information for the player over the season. A short description of each chart:
There’s a tradition to these reviews, and I’m not gonna let a little pandemic get in the way of it:
Alex Ovechkin scored 50 goals.* Any discussion of Ovechkin’s season must begin and end with that fact. And by fact, I mean a heavily asterisked fact, as he didn’t really score 50. He scored 48 goals in 68 games. He lost one game to suspension for skipping the all-star game and he lost 13 more to the coronavirus pandemic.
A pattern emerges. It’s unclear if Ovechkin would have played in 2004-05, but he was denied the choice by the lockout. He missed 34 games to another lockout in 2012, and 13 to the pandemic. No one is ready to admit it, but whatever the next NHL season looks like, it probably will not be 82-games long. So we’ve lost somewhere shy of 1.5 seasons of Ovechkin at his peak, which is a time period I currently define as “his whole career except for 2011-2013.” That’s a major impediment on the march to 894 goals, and one perhaps compounded by the team’s choice of their next coach, Peter Laviolette, whose tactical style has had a long-demonstrated effect of diminishing his players’ offensive totals.
It’ll be an interesting (read: anxiety-producing) thing to watch. Ovechkin’s individual offense rates actually went up in 2019-20 — putting him back above 20 shot attempts per hour and one-third of the team’s on-ice offense.
He’s an ageless wonder, regularly defying anyone who thinks they see the aging curve dragging him down. It’s not happening. Not yet at least, or not at least during even-strength.
The power play might be a different story. Might be.
Ovechkin lost 18 percent of his shot-attempt rate and 29 percent of his expected goal rate during five-on-four play. He took just 13 goals from the Caps PP this season, his lowest total since 2012. He actually scored more (16 goals in 48 games) in the lockout-shortened 2013 season than he did in 2019-20. Some people think that’s aging or at least increased counterplay by opponents (i.e. the Caps power play getting stale). I do not. I think the Caps remain just as deadly in the offensive zone during a man advantage as they ever were, but two things changed this season. First, bad luck as their team shooting percentage dropped from 14 percent in 2019 to 11.8 this time around. And second, the team’s transition to offense continues to degenerate through a conjunction of personnel regression (you know who I’m talking about) and bad tactics (the drop-pass breakout). Peter Laviolette has his work cut out for him on both fronts, but I think despite his reputation the Caps power play might actually be a chance to juice Ovechkin’s offense next season even more. There is somehow even more untapped potential there.
I want to wrap up here by just admiring how Alex Ovechkin, in the midst of the single most embarrassing postseason I’ve ever seen, still scored four goals in five games. Even if everyone else was being suck, he simply could not.
Alex Ovechkin scored 50 goals*. Or at least he should have.
Hope you’re sitting down.
Another look at the Ovechkin hit on Drouin pic.twitter.com/wKqm1VC03Q
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) November 16, 2019
What will the Laviolette effect be on Alex Ovechkin?
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.