So then, is Fleischmann worse than in 2007-2008? In other words, is he in decline? Maybe it's crazy to ask, considering Fleischmann isn't even into UFA years yet and is in his "prime," but let's take a look at the numbers, shall we?
Fenwick statistics are via Vic Ferrari's Timeonice, and all others are via Gabriel Desjardin's behindthenet.ca.
2007-2008 (Fleischmann wore #43 this season):
Corsi Rel: 0.7, middling on Caps
Zonestart: 60.5%, 2nd on team (slightly demoralizing exercise: line up the Capitals' zonestart percentages from the past three seasons. Wow, the 2007-2008 Caps under Boudreau might actually have been the best Caps team since the lockout)
Teammates: no one stands out here
Corsi Rel QoC: 0.515, 4th on Caps
Corsi Rel QoT: 0.771, 8th on Caps
PDO: 96.5%, 4th-to-last on Caps
Score Tied Fenwick%: 55.3% (Caps were 55.6% during this time)
TOI/60 at 5-on-5: 10.68, near the bottom
Penalty plus-minus/60: -0.2
Corsi Rel: 0.9, 9th on team
Zonestart: 54.9%, middling on Caps (Mike Green led the team at 62%?!?!?!)
Teammates: no one really stands out here
Corsi Rel QoC: 0.672, 2nd on Caps
Corsi Rel QoT: 1.574, 7th on Caps
PDO: 98.1%, 4th-to-last
Score Tied Fenwick%: 54.2% (Caps as a team were 55.2%)
TOI/60 at 5-on-5: 10.9 mins, near the bottom
Penalty plus-minus/60: +0.1
Corsi Rel: -10.7, 2nd-to-last
Zonestart: 50%, middling
Teammates: Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin at 23%, then more <5% combinations
Corsi Rel QoC: 0.350, 7th
Corsi Rel QoT: -0.157, middling
PDO: 103.3%, middling
Score Tied Fenwick%: 50.4% (Caps were 51.1%)
TOI/60 at 5-on-5: 11.82, mid-to-bottom
Penalty plus-minus/60: -0.5
In other words, relative to his teammates:
- Fleischmann's Corsi Rel has gotten much worse
- Fleischmann's score-tied Fenwick% has stayed the same
- Fleischmann's quality of competition has
- Fleischmann's quality of teammates has decreased slightly
- Fleischmann has stayed on the undisciplined side
- Fleischmann's Zonestart has gotten much less favorable
- Fleischmann has been getting a bit more time on ice
What has happened is that he's getting used in tougher situations, situations in which he's simply outmatched. My first thought is that this is due to too much time on ice when the Capitals are leading, in which case score effects indicate the Capitals would be outshot.
Fleischmann Fenwick% for 2009-2010 breakdown:
- Caps leading: 46.5% (286 events) with team at 48.6% (1406 events)
- Caps trailing: 63.8% (149 events) with team at 59.9% (685 events)
- Score close: 51.8% (554 events) with team at 50.8% (2584 events)
- Tied: 50.4% (452 events) with team at 51.1% (2072 events)
- Overall: 49.8% (1222 events) with team at 51.5% (5562 events)
So maybe it isn't misuse in the score effects use--I guess it's simply competition and Zonestart, coupled with the team as a whole not being as dominant game-to-game.
I'm not quite sure why the event numbers don't add up. At any rate, I think giving Ovechkin and Backstrom poorer Zonestart, instead giving the offensive zone starts to Fleischmann, is a better way to go. It seems pretty clear that Fleischmann is being used in roles he's simply not well suited for. His entire TOI distribution need not be changed, but merely tinkered with. Starting with the PKTOI.
Also: that 2007-2008 Capitals team may not have been as talented as today's Capitals, but man, they got the job done at 5-on-5. Their Zonestart chart looks comparable to the 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks' chart, and their 55.2% overall Fenwick is much better than 2009-2010's 51.5%, although still a far cry from the Hawks' 58.0%. The 08-09 Caps were a 54.8% Fenwick team, 54.7% with the score tied, for sake of comparison.
I find it hard to believe losing Sergei Fedorov and giving Tomas Fleischmann a few more minutes would cause a 3% drop in Fenwick%. Maybe, as was written before, complacency really is the issue. If so...this season could get ugly.