Thursday, September 9, 2010

30 Caps in 30 Days: Sean Collins

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--from today on, forward, defense, or goalie--in the same organization, at 5-on-5, unless otherwise noted. Age is on opening night. Today, Sean Collins)
(Photo courtesy Caps Snaps)

Sean Collins: age 26, 6'1", 212 pounds, shoots right.
Contract: $650k, UFA in 2011, per Capgeek.

2009-2010 raw stats:
AHL: 63 GP, 1-17-18, +26, 46 shots, 55 PIM
Playoffs: 15 GP, 1-2-3, +2, 7 shots, 16 PIM

During the 2008-2009 season, four hockey players under contract with the then-injury-riddled Capitals scored their first NHL goals--Karl Alzner, Chris Bourque, Tyler Sloan, and Sean Collins. Alzner looks like he has made the jump to the NHL full-time, Bourque has since moved on to the Kontinental Hockey League, and Sloan has also made the jump to the NHL full-time, serving sometimes as a forward and other times as a defenseman (but whether he belongs or not is another story). That leaves the subject of today's preview, Sean Collins.

Collins, at 26, already having been likely surpassed on the depth chart in Hershey by younger defensemen in John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Patrick McNeill, and maybe even Zach Miskovic, probably won't find a full-time NHL job soon, if ever. What is useful as, though, is as an injury call-up. In 2008-2009 he didn't embarrass himself much, if at all, during a brief fifteen game stint in Washington. With the relative lack of depth on the Caps blueline, Collins looks like the first call-up from Hershey (keep in mind that would be the Caps' second injury on the blueline, since they look like they will carry seven defensemen). Nevertheless, Collins is probably the first or second option, and this could be his big shot to prove himself worthy of a full-time NHL job. Will he do it? I doubt it.

The amount of time Collins spends in the NHL really depends on the Caps' healthy along the blueline. I'm guessing he'll see less than fifteen games, maybe pick up three helpers, and that's more or less it. As long as he doesn't embarrass himself or the team, what he does should be a success. He'll probably get promoted to second pairing in the AHL (since the top pair of "Carlznerson" will be promoted full-time to the NHL) and might put up 25-30 points, almost entirely helpers.

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