I now call to order this special meeting of the board of directors. Please mute your mic when not speaking as we can all hear you cracking open a startling amount of Bud Limes during the course of this call.
After Ian reads the minutes, I will share an Executive Summary of our end-of-year happiness survey. There were some very surprising results this time around, calling into question the very nature of happiness from an ontological perspective.
We had nearly 3000 responses. Here is how we posed the question:
On a scale from 1 to 5, how HAPPY are you to have this player on the team?
1 means VERY UNHAPPY TO HAVE THEM ON THE TEAM
2 means UNHAPPY
3 means NEITHER HAPPY NOR UNHAPPY
4 means HAPPY
5 means VERY HAPPY TO HAVE THEM ON THE TEAM
I gathered the results and then ranked players by their average score. For the purpose of analysis, I have broken them into tiers.
Below, each player is listed with their average score and their standard deviation. A bigger average score means fans are happier to have that player on the team. A bigger standard deviation means there is more disagreement about the player. Here we go.
These are the saints of the Washington Capitals, players whose mere existence sparks joy within you, so Marie Kondo and free agency need to step off.
Dmitry Orlov is maybe the biggest surprise of the season to me, rising from a 3.90 to a team-high 4.76 now. This is his first appearance in the top tier. I … am… open to your theories as to why this has happened. I think he’s safely Washington’s best defender right now, but shrug. 4.76 is high.
Alex Ovechkin had just a tiny dip (and a nice standard deviation), which I think speaks to his injuries plus anxieties over his ending contract. Backstrom took a bigger dip, and we’ll have a lot to talk about with him when his season review comes up.
Just outside the top tier, here is the team’s outer core, consisting of liquid hot magma and Tom Wilson.
Tom Wilson remains in the second tier, dropping slightly from the last survey, which happened on the heels of his suspension. His linemate, TJ Oshie, appears to be suffering from fans’ worries over the looming expansion draft. I could not abide anyone thinking he had anything but a great season.
The shine seems to be off of Vitek Vanecek, who dropped 0.35 over the season — a contrast from carrying the team with Samsonov out to getting injured in Game One of the playoffs.
Daniel Sprong , the team’s youngest skater at 24, has had a great season measured by your happiness, notching up 0.46 from the beginning of the year.
These players are not stars, at least not right now, but they are crucial role-playing fellas.
Both deadline pickups, Raffl and Mantha, appear here, despite very different seasons with Washington.
Carl Hagelin wins the battle of least change over the course of the season: you all feel very strongly about not feeling very strongly about him. Ilya Samsonov started the season low in the wake of his COVID suspension, but recovered sharply, peaking at 4.20 in midseason, only to fall again by season’s end.
Brenden Dillon is in the same tier, but his journey has been a steady drop, down 1.01 over the course of the season.
There are some vibes here that are not uniformly positive.
Here’s yet another reminder that happiness means different things to different people. I have a hard time imagining you all disliked Zdeno Chara‘s season (after those first couple weeks at least), but considering this could be the end of his legendary career is definitely a bummer.
Meanwhile, John Carlson had a really crummy playoffs and was visibly nursing a knee injury.
Short King Conor Sheary has the team’s biggest standard deviation, suggesting no consensus around him. I get that, as he didn’t always play and had some suspicious underlying numbers in the playoffs.
This is the tier with Evgeny Kuznetsov in it.
Oh, Eugene. Our enigmatic forward from the Ural mountains, Evgeny Kuznetsov , dropped more than any other Cap (down 1.38) in your estimation. There’s a lot going on here.
Justin Schultz … I have no idea? Explain it to me in comments.
For some of these, I think you were just hitting random numbers. I don’t think, for example, that 28-year-old center Michael Sgarbossa (five games, two assists) really affects my personal happiness in any real way.
Images: Elizabeth Kong, Capitals, NBC Sports Washington
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