Anthony Mantha didn’t deliver goals, and he was punished for it.
|14.2||time on ice per game|
|52.1||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage|
|52.7||5-on-5 expected goal percentage|
|-5||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.
I have been at times a lonely Mantha defender. I’ll make that case here very briefly. At everything inconspicuous in hockey – the stuff not in the boxcar stats or feel-able in physical play – he’s a strong player. Corey’s player card above shows some of those qualities. But at some point you have to get on the scoreboard, and Mantha has not.
Mantha had just 11 goals and 16 assists this season, just four more than last season, when he played in 30 fewer games. That shortfall is undeniable, but I insist on putting one qualifier on it: Mantha’s opportunity has dropped a lot. He plays 3.5 fewer minutes per game now than he did when he joined the Capitals. That’s like going from the 75th percentile to the 32nd in ice time among forwards.
But in the ice time he did have, Mantha’s rate of production (mostly his primary assists) was still way down.
You can make the case that the ice time caused the points problem or that the points problem caused the ice time, but in either case we are here. Mantha is paid like a high-end top-six forward ($5.7 million a year), but he is played like a low-end third-liner. He scores like one too.
The Caps are reportedly shopping Mantha around this summer, but I could be convinced giving him one more shot under Spencer Carbery is a good idea. Even if you don’t like how he plays, I think you can tell there’s a valuable and motivated player there, and moving on sometimes feels like giving up.
Under a new coach, would you be okay with Mantha coming back, or are you for a trade even if the asset value has never been lower?
This article would not be possible without 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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