From Alzner to Varlamov, we're taking a look at and grading the 2008-09 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2009-10. Next up, Matt Bradley.
#10 / Right Wing / Washington Capitals
Jun 13, 1978
$1,000,000 through 2010-11; UFA after 2010-11 season
Key Stat: Bradley's 8.03 hits per sixty minutes of play were the third most on the team, second most among forwards, and ahead of Alexander Ovechkin and Milan Jurcina.
Interesting Stat: Of Bradley's nine fights in 2008-09, he wasn't credited with a single win by voters at hockeyfights,com. His season record was 0-5-4.
The Good: As usual, Bradley brought energy and physicality to the Capitals' fourth line without hurting the team. His 1.69 GAON/60 was second lowest on the team, he took an exceptionally low seven non-coincidental minor penalties this season, while drawing thirteen, the fourth best among team forwards. In true grinder fashion, Bradley stepped up his game in the playoffs: his six points were tied with Viktor Kozlov for eighth on the team and were more than David Steckel and Tomas Fleischmann.
The Bad: Bradley's already pedestrian offense output dropped in the 2008-09 regular season: his goal total went from six to five, his assists total from eleven to six, and his point total from eighteen to eleven. For all his hard work, Bradley could stand to do a better job of getting his big body in front of shots (he blocked fewer per sixty minutes than anyone on the team other than Alex Semin) and although opponent didn't score all that often when Bradley was on the ice, they still scored more often than the Capitals did. In addition some of what Bradley did well is mitigated by the fact that he had the second lowest quality of competition rating among Capitals forwards.
The Vote: Rate Bradley below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations 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 Discussion: What would you like to see Bradley improve on in 2009-10? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year? Does his play as a member of the very successful third-line in the playoffs mean he might be ready for full-time third-line duty next year?