FanPost

The Case for Alexander Radulov

[Ed. note: this FanPost originally ran on June 5, 2012.]

The Capitals recent bouncing in the second round by the New York Rangers revealed a weakness which has been discussed on this forum and others. The lack of top-six depth was referenced in the rink wrap and with Alex Semin apparently departing for a team which can offer him a bigger role, and the relatively shallow top-six free agent market this year, the Caps will have to get a bit creative. According to Josh Cooper in The Tennessean (http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120605/SPORTS02/306050106/Preds-sever-ties-Radulov?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports%20Nashville%20Predators&nclick_check=1 ) The Predators are looking to trade the rights to sign Alexander Radulov; a restricted free agent this year according to Capgeek.

Semin provided 21 goals and 33 assists for 54 points last year while playing an average of 16:47 per night. Without that production, the Capitals have one legitimate scoring threat, and one less weapon to use on the power play. Beyond that, Semin is a player who can create offense for himself. Alexander Radulov is a similiar player.

Semin posted an on-ice Corsi score of 5.21, began his shifts in the offensive zone 51.1% of the time, and faced a Corsi Rel QoC of -0.340. These stats suggest he did an admirable job of driving possession with slightly favorable assignments. He may not have been tested much, but he didn't get easy minutes either.

Radulov, on the other hand, posted a lower Corsi score against comparable competition, 2.72 and -0.168 respectively. However, he started his shifts in the offensive zone just 46.5% of the time, while finishing them in the offensive zone 53.1%. Radulov is a capable possession player, which is what the Capitals are losing in Semin, and sorely need, if the playoffs this year were any indication. (The Capitals cumulative Fenwick score was -117, according to Russian Machine Never Breaks.) All stats are courtesy of Behindthenet.ca.

Now, of course, these numbers largely suggest that Radulov is a very similar player to Semin. Letting Semin walk, then mortgaging a few assets for a similar roster player hardly makes sense, and is a net loss for the Capitals. Plenty of people have issues with Semin, but the fact is he was one of our best possession players, and made up a significant chunk of the Capital's offense. This move only makes sense if the Capitals resign Semin with the intention of keeping him in the top-6, along with plugging in Radulov.

This would add more punch to the top two lines, more ability to put the puck in the back of the net. It would put more pressure on defenses to reconsider how to cover our talented Russian wingers, and how to deploy their defenses. Chimera cannot be counted on to be a second line player again. I know many may not agree, but more shooters would benefit this offense, in my opinion. Plus depth never hurt.

This is my first attempt at some statistical analysis so, please feel free to let me know what I got wrong, respectfully of course. Also, this is just an idea, and I'm sure many people on this board will have plenty of their own, which may be much smarter than this one. I look forward to your feedback.

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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