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, Matt Bradley.
Contract Status: UFA; 2007-08 salary of $700,000
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 30
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 6+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 77 games played, 7 goals, 11 assists, +1, 74 PIMs
Key Stat: Has improved his plus/minus in each of his last four seasons
Surprising Stat: Had the most shots on goal per minute of ice time of any non-Russian on the team
The Good: Most of the good that Bradley does (aggressive forechecking with sandpaper to spare) doesn't find its way onto the stat sheet, but there are some numbers that we can throw out here. For example, he doubled his fight total from 2006-07 (from five to ten), had a career-high 111 shots on goal, a pair of game-winning goals and was third among season-long Caps forwards in hits, all while getting the second-lowest ice time of any regular. He had his best month of the season points-wise when it mattered most, notching four goals and a helper in March, and his goal in the 12th round of a scoreless shootout against Edmonton back in January gave the Caps a victory on that night. Oh, and he provided us with this fantastic picture. Finally, here's a telling stat for you - after being healthy-scratched five times in 21 games under Glen Hanlon, Bradley played every single game once Bruce Boudreau got to town and saw his minutes increase as well.
The Bad: Only seven of Bradley's 111 shots on goal found the back of the net, a 6.3 shooting percentage that was the worst of any regular forward, and he hasn't scored more than seven goals in a season since 2001 (when he potted nine for the Sharks). His job isn't to put up points, but 16- and 11-game pointless and 23- and 17-game goal-less stretches are a bit lengthy.
The Vote: Rate Bradley 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 Question(s): Potentially an unrestricted free agent come July 1, should Bradley be in the Caps' plans for 2008-09? If so, what will it take for him to earn a 10 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.