Sunday, September 5, 2010

30 Caps in 30 Days: Matt Bradley

(During the thirty days of September, I'll be trying to preview the seasons of thirty players currently under contract with the Washington Capitals and who have a good chance of spending some time in red, white, and blue this season. Advanced stats are given from ranked against other players at the same position, in the same organization, at 5-on-5, unless otherwise noted. Age is on opening night. Today, Matt Bradley)

Matt Bradley: age 32, 6'3", 201 pounds, shoots right.

Contract: $1 million, 2011 UFA

2009-2010 linemates: 21% Quintin Laing and David Steckel, 17% Boyd Gordon and David Steckel
2010 playoff linemates: 33% Boyd Gordon and Jason Chimera, 17% Eric Belanger and Jason Chimera, 16% Boyd Gordon and David Steckel

2009-2010 raw stats:
NHL: 77 GP, 10-14-24, +6, 98 shots, 47 PIM
Playoffs: 7 GP, 1-2-3, +2, 8 shots, 2 PIM

2009-2010 advanced stats: 2nd in Corsi QoC, 1st in Corsi Rel QoC, 2nd in Corsi QoT, and 3rd (second to last) in Corsi Rel QoT (rankings don't include Alexander Semin). All those stats were middling among all Caps forwards.
2010 playoffs advanced stats: 2nd in Corsi QoC and Corsi Rel QoC, 4th in Corsi QoT, and 3rd in Corsi Rel QoT (again, not including Alexander Semin). His Corsi QoC and Corsi Rel QoC were middling among all Caps forwards; his Corsi QoT was last and his Corsi Rel QoT was second-to-last.

(Photo courtesy Caps Snaps)

WOWY (yellow is how much better the player is with Bradley, green how much better Bradley is with the player):

Matt Bradley in his five years as a Cap has quickly become a fan favorite, and as of late it has become apparent that that love is well within reason. When he's not coming to his captain's defense or teaching us about hockey or giving us nicknames, Bradley goes ahead and bravely acts the role of underweight enforcer, chooses himself to go in the shootout and scores, or scores clutch game winning goals, and helps out in the playoffs, too. His ten goals were a career high and so were his fourteen assists, for a career high of 24--all at the ripe age of 32. He was quite a good penalty killer as well, with the second best GAON/60 4-on-5 on the team.

Bradley, in short, had a fantastic season, and I find little reason why it cannot continue. His slightly high PDO is the only "lucky" factor I can find, quite frankly. He was so good that Tomas Fleischmann made him worse in terms of Corsi. He didn't even have a particularly high shooting percentage. He just took advantage of his good chances.

What should we expect from Bradley next season? I don't really know. On the one hand, Bradley had his success, it looks like, in Corsi. He isn't the best fourth liner in the world, but he looks solid, and he has been throughout his Capitals career. Coming into a contract year, he could be even better. On the other hand, this was by far Bradley's career season, and on a team that had all the chips fall offensively too. I think that latter trend is the thing to look at. It would surprise me if Bradley replicated his 2009-2010 season unless he starts getting better linemates and more ice time. There's a reason this great season came at age 32. That generally doesn't happen. Around 6 goals and 15 points sounds about right.

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