Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just a Quick Thought

My best received post was the one earlier this year focusing on the fact that without Alex Ovechkin on the ice, the Caps' Corsi was essentially zero.

Unfortunately, the same is still true. Considering that Brooks Laich tends to play separately from Ovechkin, though, and that Laich has a pretty solid "Corsi On," I think it's safe to conclude that it is the Caps' bottom two forward lines that are dragging the team down: specifically, Jay Beagle, Marcus Johansson, David Steckel, Boyd Gordon, and Jason Chimera, along with Tyler Sloan, John Erskine, and Jeff Schultz.

Schultz is inexcusable--high quality teammates and decent zonestart, yet few results. Johansson (sorry, Marcus) is inexcusable too, with a 60% zonestart (even with tough competition and average teammates, that's a high zonestart, and considering his zonefinish is only 46%, he needs more sheltered minutes). We know the stories on Beagle, Sloan, and Erskine. Steckel and Gordon face tough competition with tough zonestart and no help. Chimera frequently starts in the defensive zone with below-average teammates and above-average competition.

How do we remedy the situation quickly? Here's my idea: find a 3C who moves the puck up the ice and doesn't need sheltered minutes. Move Johansson to that guy's wing or maybe 2LW. Sacrifice most of that 60% zonestart to give to Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, like they've had in prior years (sidenote: and Fedorov had a low zonestart too??? Shite). And find an upgrade on defense, since this season Schultz, Erskine, and Sloan haven't been good enough to be put together in any combination, and it's risky to pair them with someone else lest they drag that guy down too.

I'm firmly a believer that this team isn't that far away, contrary to what people and Corsi say (Corsi also says a similar roster was elite for two years, 5-6% better in tied Fenwick than now). I estimate getting better minutes out of Johansson's spot in the lineup will take this team to a 53% Fenwick (right now it's about 50-51%). While that's still not elite, it's as good as, say Boston, or Philadelphia last year. It gives this team a fighting chance to make the Stanley Cup Finals.

All that then needs to happen is for someone to knock off Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Considering teams like Florida, Montreal, and the New York Rangers are hanging around the bottom of the playoff picture, one--or both--of them getting upset in the first round is a very real possibility.


  1. can someone explain to me the logic behind how perreault is better than johansson?

  2. Check out I think it's close and they bring different games. Just that Johansson isn't generating any sort of offense for his linemates (his shotson/60 is terrible) while Perreault is.