FanPost

Why this year's team is better prepared for the playoffs

While the Caps made a decent playoff run last season, the feeling among many was that they were still a little too young and overmatched against the Penguins' age and playoff experience. In other words, while just as talented, they didn't fully understand what it really took to compete for a Stanley Cup when compared to the Penguins. That belief is likely the underlying factor behind many of George McPhee's moves this season. It's probably not by accident that every player McPhee acquired is in their 30's and most have a decent amount of playoff experience.

What I've done with the chart below is compare the Caps roster from Game 7 against Pittsburgh last season to the guys who played in the last game against Pittsburgh this season. ( I took the liberty of inserting Scott Walker in place of Laing). I've listed their ages and the number of playoff games they had been in before last year's playoffs and the number they have going into this year's playoffs. What struck me immediately is just how much more experienced this current team is vs. last year's. Aside from the average age increasing by almost a year, last year's team only had seven players 30 or over. This year's squad has nine. More importantly, last season there were only eight players with double digit playoff games under their belt. This year, there are 17. Admittedly, a lot of the increases in age and number of playoff games come from the core players being a year older, but that's a factor in their favor as the experience gained together should help them during this coming playoff run. Another factor to consider is that last year's number are hugely skewed by the presence of Fedorov. When you take out his playoff totals and age, the difference from last year's team to this year's is even more striking. To be fair, I also removed the guy who basically took over his position as second line center, Brendan Morrison. Another positive to consider is the actual upgrade in personnel from last year's roster to the current edition. For example, Kozlov is replaced by Knuble. Jurcina is replaced by Schultz. Clark is replaced by Chimera, etc.  The bottom line  is that if last year's team was too young and inexperienced, this current edition of the Washington Capitals appears to have the right mix of youth and veteran leadership and enough playoff experience throughout the roster to prepare for whatever they might encounter during this year's playoffs. Inexperience is no longer an excuse and that's a good thing.

 

2008-2009 Roster

2009-2010 Roster

Name

Age/Playoff Games

Name

Age/Playoff Games

POTHIER, BRIAN

32/13

CORVO, JOE

32/38

POTI, TOM

32/31

******(same player)

33/45

ERSKINE, JOHN

28/19

CARLSON, JOHN

20/0

OVECHKIN, ALEX

23/7

******

24/21

BRADLEY, MATT

30/17

******

31/31

FLEISCHMANN, TOMAS

24/2

******

25/16

GORDON, BOYD

25/7

BELANGER, ERIC

32/30

CLARK, CHRIS

33/26

CHIMERA, JASON

31/6

BACKSTROM, NICK

21/7

******

22/14

LAICH, BROOKS

25/7

******

26/14

JURCINA, MILAN

26/7

SCHULTZ, JEFF

24/3

KOZLOV, VIKTOR

35/21

KNUBLE, MIKE

37/41

MORRISONN, SHAONE

26/7

******

27/21

SEMIN, ALEXANDER

25/7

******

26/21

STECKEL, DAVID

27/7

******

28/21

GREEN, MIKE

23/7

******

24/21

BEAGLE, JAY

23/4

WALKER, SCOTT

36/29

FEDOROV, SERGEI

40/169

MORRISON, BRENDAN

34/53

VARLAMOV, SIMEON

20/0

******

21/13

THEODORE, JOSE

32/47

******

33/49

AVERAGE AGE

27.5

AVERAGE AGE

28.30

TOTAL PLAYOFF

GAMES

412

TOTAL PLAYOFF GAMES

487

AVERAGE AGE

W/0 FEDOROV

26.8

AVERAGE AGE W/O MORRISON

28.00

TOTAL PLAYOFF GAMES- W/O FEDOROV

243 

TOTAL PLAYOFF GAMES W/O MORRISON

434

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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