Dylan Strome was Washington’s best non-Ovechkin player last season. That’s great for him, but what does it say about the team?
|16.7||time on ice per game|
|50.4||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage|
|52.5||5-on-5 expected goal percentage|
|+7||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: Twice this 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 nothing negative to say about Dylan Strome, and you better not either. In a different universe, he’d have been a guy you’re ecstatic to have on your second line. He’d have offensive snarl, and he’d be a decent puck carrier, but he wouldn’t be expected to drive play for the world’s greatest goal-scorer. For Strome, the Bad Year Tax meant he had to do just that.
And for Alex Ovechkin, Strome meant stronger overall play – Washington controlled 50.6 percent of attempts when they were together versus 48.1 percent when Ovechkin was apart from Strome, but it came at the cost of offense. The Strome-Ovechkin pair scored almost a full goal less per hour than Ovechkin did otherwise. But opponents scored two more goals per hour (!!!) when Ovechkin was without Strome, and that is simply unacceptable. Peter Laviolette had to run Ovechkin with Strome – because Ovechkin with Kuznetsov was a car crash on the scoreboard.
Before the season started, I wanted to see Strome play a lot with Connor Brown. They played 22 minutes together before a knee injury ended Brown’s season. Bad Year Tax.
No Caps player has a longer contract than Strome, extending through 2028-29, so we need to get used to him. The good news is that he’s a perfectly useful player who can contribute at every phase of play. But there’s a limit to how much you should use a guy, and there are contexts in which any guy would be over-leveraged. We saw both for Strome in 2022-23. I hope that gets fixed next year – as the Caps reinforce their top six via trades – and I hope we see him shine in 2023-24.
Where do you want Strome playing next season and why is the second line?
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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