From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player* who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Tom Poti.
Contract Status: 2008-09 salary of $3,500,000; UFA after 2010-11 season
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 31
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 9
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 71 games played, 2 goals, 27 assists, +9, 46 PIMs
Key Stat: Poti was the only Caps defenseman to average 17 even strength minutes, two-and-a-half power play minutes and three-and-a-half shorthanded minutes per game.
Unsurprising Stat: His two goals tied a career single-season low.
The Good: Poti was second among the team's defensemen in points, assists, plus/minus, shots on goal, power-play points and average ice time per game and lead the team in blocked shots and shifts per game. He nearly doubled his even strength production (from 11 points to 21, including a pair of even strength goals in 2007-08 after none in 2006-07) and finished the season strong with both goals, 15 assists and a plus-17 rating in his final 35 games. Poti had six multi-point games and his fewest PIMs-per-game since his rookie year.
The Bad: Poti was brought in to (among other things) quarterback the top power play unit, but couldn't fill that role and lost the job to Mike Green fairly early on. As a result, his power play TOI dropped from 4:38 per game last season to 2:39 per outing this season and his point total dropped from 44 to 29. Poti's shooting percentage was the worst among all Caps with enough shots per game to qualify (and was 368th - or sixth worst - in the NHL in that stat), he had the fewest hits per minute of ice time of any of the team's blueliners (a nagging shoulder injury, no doubt, was at least partially to blame for both that and the lowest shots-per-game total since his rookie season), and his takeaway-to-giveaway ratio was better than only Alex Semin's, Jeff Schultz's and Milan Jurcina's among Caps' regulars. Poti also missed multiple games with groin (six games), upper- (three games) and lower-(two games) body injuries and waited 44 games before scoring his first goal of the season.
The Vote: Rate Poti on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Questions: Which blueliner would you most like to see Poti paired with in 2008-09? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?
If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.
* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.