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, Viktor Kozlov.
Contract Status: 2008-09 salary of $2.5M; UFA following 2008-09 season
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 33
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 12+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 81 games played, 16 goals, 38 assists, +28, 18 PIMs
Key Stat: Kozlov had the seventh-best plus/minus in the NHL.
Miserable Stats: In 12-plus seasons, Kozlov has yet to play a second round playoff game or score a playoff goal (in 21 games).
The Good: 2007-08 was Kozlov's freshman year in the Dainius Zubrus school of statistical inflation, and, as a result, he had his highest point total since 2002-03 and the best plus/minus of his career (it didn't hurt that he played a career-high 81 games for the second consecutive season, either). He rode the A-train en route to finishing as one of only two Caps to finish in the top five on the team in goals, assists, points and plus/minus (guess who the other is), and finished third on the squad in shots on goal with his highest total since '02-'03. Kozlov lead the team in primary assists per sixty minutes and was second in points per sixty minutes of ice time (edging Nicklas Backstrom). He had three different four-game scoring streaks, didn't go more than three games without a point after mid-October, and had a ridiculous March in which he had 11 points and a plus-17 rating in 14 games. His takeaway-to-giveaway ratio was better than that of any of his Russian teammates, he committed only eight minor penalties all year (and had the third best penalties drawn-to-taken per sixty ratio on the Caps) and had the best plus/minus per sixty on the team.
The Bad: Kozlov had goal-less streaks of 23 and 12 games and scored just two goals in a 43-game stretch from October 12 through January 17. He had the third-lowest shooting percentage of his career, and, ostensibly a center by trade, had a woeful 45.9 faceoff winning percentage. Frankly, none of his other stats stand out as particularly bad... thanks, Ovie!
The Vote: Rate Kozlov 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 Questions: What role do you see Kozlov playing on the 2008-09 Caps? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating 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.