With two injuries and a long stretch of scratches, Alex Alexeyev‘s rookie season was kind of cursed.
|16.5||time on ice per game|
|44.9||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage|
|45.7||5-on-5 expected goal percentage|
|-3||5-on-5 goal differential|
For on-ice percentages, 50 percent means even: both teams possess the puck evenly. Higher is better, lower is worse.
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows how the player has impacted play when on the ice. At the top of the image is the team’s offense (even strength at left, power play at right) and at bottom is the team’s defense (with penalty kill at bottom right). In each case, red/orange blobs mean teams shoot for more from that location on the ice, and blue/purple means less. In general, a good player should have red/orange blobs near the opponent’s net at top, and blue/purple bobs near their own team’s net at bottom. The distributions in the middle show how the player compares to league average at individual finishing, setting up teammates to score, and taking and drawing penalties.
About this player card: This image from Evolving Hockey shows an overview of the player across different parts of their game. At top right are the players percentile rank (1 is worst; 100 best), overall and on offense and defense separately. Higher numbers are in blue. Below are the player’s contributions in different compartments of the game using the goals-above-replacement or GAR metric. Higher numbers (again in blue) mean the player adds value compared to an average AHL call-up player.
About this visualization: At three times during the season, 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.
There’s a theme we’re going to hit a bunch of times in this series, and I’ll call it the Bad Year Tax. The Bad Year Tax is like the system-wide downturn nearly every player experienced – both causing and being caused by the Capitals’ bad year. Alexeyev is a good example to start with, as I think the Bad Year Tax makes it unclear to me how well he would do in a full, non-cursed NHL season.
Obviously he’s huge, so there’s always that. But the Capitals generated less offense during his shifts than they did when any other defender was on the ice. That might have been a consequence of Peter Laviolette using Alexeyev extensively in the defensive zone. A good hitter and board-battler, Alexeyev might be good at the conspicuous parts of hockey, but for me the jury is still out if he can actually drive play.
As the Capitals focus more on youth next season, Alexeyev might be a case study to measure how it’s going. I think there’s a wide range of possibilities on how this player could develop.
Did Alexeyev’s 2022-23 season even really count?
This article would not be possible with HockeyViz, Evolving Hockey, Natural Stat Trick, and All Three Zones. Please consider joining us in supporting them. For people interested in learning more from those resources, we recently published video walkthroughs.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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