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2008-09 Rink Wrap: Michael Nylander

From Alzner to Varlamov, we're taking a look at and grading the 2008-09 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2009-10. Next up, Michael Nylander.

Michael Nylander

#92 / Center / Washington Capitals



Oct 03, 1972


$4,875,000 cap hit in 2009-10; UFA after 2010-11 season; No movement clause expires after 2009-10 season

5.23 rating

2008-09 Stats GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT TOI/G
Regular Season 72 9 24
6 2
87 10.3 14:02
Playoffs 3
0 0

Key Stats: Nylander was a healthy scratch eight times in the regular season and eleven times during the playoffs (and the Caps lost all three postseason games for which he did dress).

Interesting Stat: Nylander has worn seven different jersey numbers during his NHL career - 8, 9, 25, 26, 36, 37 and, of course, 92.

The Good: Contrary to popular belief, there was some good in Nylander's season, including a plus-19 improvement over his miserable 2007-08 season. In the first four games of the season, Nyls had a pair of goals and four helpers, and was on a point-per-game pace through the first eight games of the campaign. He was fifth on the team in even strength assists (behind the Young Guns), and, um... then there was his two-goal game against the Devils in February and, uh... his game-winner against the Habs in December that made Simeon Varlamov a winner in his NHL debut. Alright, that's all I've got. On to the rest of the post...

The Bad: Despite skating more frequently at even strength with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom than with any other linemates, Nylander's per-game goal and assist rates were cut in half from the prior season and he posted the fewest points-per-game of any season in his career in which he played at least 34 games (and the fewest this century). How bad was Nylander's production? Viktor Kozlov had more than 33% more points-per-game, David Steckel scored more even strength goals, and Sami Lepisto, Milan Jurcina and Bryan Helmer all had more points per sixty minutes of five-on-four ice time than Nyls did (striking in that Nylander was in the Top 20 in the League in power-play points just two seasons ago). Nylander's 14:02 of ice time per night was his lowest since 1998-99, his 45.9% faceoff win rate was the worst of any player on the team who took at least 84 draws (and he took a lot more than 84 draws), and no Caps forward who played in at least half of the teams games allowed more shots on goal at five-aside. And while he's never been confused with a bruiser, his nine hits on the season (or one every eight games) make Tomas Fleischmann look like Cal Clutterbuck - no player in the League played as many games and had fewer his than Nylander did.

The Vote: Rate Nylander below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations 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 Discussion: If the rumors turn out to be nothing more than that and he's back next season, can Nylander be a contributing member of the 2009-10 Washington Capitals? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?