In a blighted season, Nic Dowd was a bright spot.
|13.4||time on ice per game|
|50.0||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage|
|52.2||5-on-5 expected goal percentage|
|+4||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 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 player card: This image from All Three Zones shows how the player compares to league averages in different microstats, especially ones regarding entering and entering zones. Blue bars mean the player has a higher rate of the statistic compared to league average, and orange means a lower rate. The numbers are Z-scores, also known as standard deviations, indicating how far the number is from league average, where two standard deviations means the player is on the extreme edge of the league.
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.
Hell yeah, Nic Dowd. What a player. No complaints, no notes. I guess I have to write a review though, so let’s go.
The platonic ideal of a fourth-line player. Strong defense with enough offensive snarl to worry opponents. And when everyone else on the Caps was paying the Bad Year Tax, Dowd hit a career high in goals. He had more goals than Kuznetsov and Mantha, which says as much about him as it does those dudes. Dowd made Washington’s fourth line their best line up until he lost his partner Garnet Hathaway. He ate more defensive-zone starts than any Caps player at any position. And he’s on the books for another two seasons.
I know it’s easy to fall in love with your team’s grinders, but in the case of Nic Dowd it’s a wise investment.
“I think the beginning of the process is always challenging,” he continued. Because, you’re sitting there and looking at this like, ‘How did I get injured? How did this stupid thing happen?’ Immediately, the player is like, ‘Okay, I’ve done this once in my career and it took me twelve days.’ You’re crunching all the numbers in your head. Your first question sitting on the table is, ‘Hey doctor, how long am I going to be out for?’ Well, everything is different right and guys progress differently. That’s kinda where your brain goes first and then you get into the mountain of work that you have to do to get back. At times it can be a little overwhelming. You just gotta find solitude in that you work hard every day and you’re surrounded by good people.
How do you think Dowd will fare next season without Hathaway and in recovery from injury?
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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