Nic Dowd is a familiar kind of player. He’s a imperfect depth guy who wins faceoffs, plays very tough minutes, scores timely goals, and has a dogged work ethic. Hmm. Is there a word for that?
|14.4||time on ice per game|
|47.9||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|49.0||5-on-5 expected goal percentage, adjusted|
|47.9||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:
About this visualization: At three times during the season (end of January, end of March, and end of May), RMNB shared an open survey with fans, asking the following question for each player:
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
The numbers above show the average score for the player in each survey period.
Evolving Hockey’s Goals Above Replacement (GAR) model is not the biggest fan of Nic Dowd’s season. It has Dowd as Washington’s worst skater at 3.5 goals below replacement value. That low number comes mostly from Dowd’s problems with penalties — he committed 13 (behind only Tom Wilson) and drew just seven. That’s the worst ratio among Caps forwards and definitely not what you want from your fourth line. And I don’t like using this stat a lot, but Dowd had the worst takeaways-minus-giveaways number on the team (minus-23). And he had the team lowest on-ice shot-attempt percentage (47.9 percent) and nearly the team’s lowest expected goals and actual goals percentages (49.0 and 47.9 percent, respectively).
And yet, I still like him a lot!
Aside from the penalties, a lot of Dowd’s bad on-ice results can be partially explained (at least) by his usage, which I would characterize as extremely unfortunate.
In order to optimize the player we’ll discuss on Friday, June 18, Peter Laviolette used Nic Dowd and his fourth line in cartoonishly defensively ways. So Dowd had the high rates of opponent offense (53.4 attempts per hour, 9.6 high-danger chances per hour, 2.1 expected goals per hour), but I’m still not too upset.
After all, Dowd and his line (mostly Hathaway and Hagelin) mustered up a surprising amount of offense despite starting so many shifts far away from the opponent net, ending up well in the black on high-danger chances (52.5 percent) and giving Dowd a career high in goals despite playing eight fewer games than his eight in 64 last season.
Here’s a stat I have a hard time wrapping my head around: Nic Dowd generated a higher rate of individual expected goals (0.60 per hour) than TJ Oshie (0.59). Dowd had a higher “danger per shot attempt” (i.e. individual expected goals divided by individual shot attempts) than every Caps player except Sheary (with whom it was a virtual tie at .07).
Everything about Dowd — except for the penalties, which suck and need to improve — screams to me that he’s a depth player who can show up big in big moments. So while I was surprised that Dowd was in a three-way tie for the goal-scoring lead in Washington’s five-game playoff series against Boston, I wasn’t that surprised. I wrote a couple more sentences to sorta summarize how I feel about this player, but I deleted it and I’m just gonna use this image instead.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 12, 2021
What’s Dowd’s goal-scoring ceiling? Can you see him taking on more offensive responsibilities or do you like him in this role?
Read more: Japers Rink
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