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2007-08 Rink Wrap: Olie Kolzig

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, Olie Kolzig.

Note: I debated whether or not to review Kolzig's season, but as he "laced 'em up" and is technically "still with the team," I guess I've got to play by my own rules. Besides, maybe this can help to bring a tiny bit of closure to the whole situation.

Contract Status: UFA, will not return; 2007-08 salary of $5.45M
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 38
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 13+ (this seems like a good enough place to note that I consider an NHL season one in which a guy played more than 25 games in the NHL or more games in the NHL than in a lower league; the "+" indicates that parts of additional seasons were spent in the NHL)
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 54 games played, 25-21-6 record, 1 shutout, 2.91 GAA, .892 SV%
Key Stats: Kolzig had the fourth-worst SV% and eighth-worst GAA in the League in 2007-08, but posted a winning record (you guys can discuss which of those stats are important and which aren't).
Surprising Stat: Kolzig was 1-1-1 with a 2.58 GAA and .917 SV% in the second of back-to-back games in which he played in both.
Mildly Interesting Stat: If Kolzig had replicated his 2006-07 SV% in 2007-08 and all else was equal, his GAA would have been 2.41 (conversely, if he had posted his 2007-08 SV% in 2006-07, all else equal, he would have had a 3.58 GAA, which would have been the second-worst in the League in front of only... Brent Johnson).

The Good: Kolzig became only the 23rd goalie in NHL history to record 300 career wins when he beat Calgary on March 12 and won 25 games for the seventh time in his career. Kolzig was healthy for the whole season, and had it not been for the acquisition of Cristobal Huet at the trade deadline, probably would have made his most starts in a season since 2002-03. Olie had his best post-lockout GAA in 2007-08 and increased his win total for the third consecutive season. Kolzig's season started off with a bang - his only shutout of the year came in his first game - and through his first eight starts he had a 2.27 GAA and .922 SV%. Kolzig went 15-5-3 from December 26 through March 14, and, in the critical stretch from February 2 through March 14, went 7-3-2 with a 2.09 GAA and .923 SV%, giving up more than two goals only three times and more than three just once (I guess you can see why he had thought that he had righted the ship and deserved to be the team's number one netminder).

[Also very, very good - Mark's sponsorship of Olie's Hockey-Reference.com page - much classier than our sponsorship of Jaromir Jagr's]

The Bad: For the sixth consecutive season, Kolzig started fewer games than he had the previous year, and while injuries limited him in the past few campaigns, it was his shaky play for much of the first two-thirds of the season that limited him in 2007-08 - from November 2 through the end of January he was 14-14-4 with a 3.33 GAA and .872 SV% and had three different four-game losing streaks during that span (including 3 OTLs). He had his fewest minutes played since 1996-97, his worst SV% of any year in which he played more than 18 games, and even through the 15-5-3 stretch had a GAA (2.77) that would have ranked him 33rd in the League for the season and a SV% (.893) that would have ranked him 41st.

The Bottom Line (special bonus feature, with commentary!): In 20 starts in October, February and March, Kolzig was 11-7-2 with a 2.30 GAA and a .920 SV%, but in 32 starts in November, December and January, he was 14-14-4 with a 3.29 GAA and a .874 SV%. To me, that says he's no longer able to handle number one goalie minutes, but probably can still do well as a number two with a bigger-than-normal role; during that 15-5-3 stretch, for example, he only started 23 of 36 games - he was at his best when somewhat well-rested. And here's the ironic kicker - starting 23 of 36 games pro rates to 52 starts over the course of a season... the most Cristobal Huet has ever started in a single campaign.

The Vote: Rate Kolzig 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: What kind of numbers do you think a 2008-09 Kolzig is capable of putting up? And the big question - does Kolzig play in 2008-09 and, if so, where?

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.