From Alzner to Varlamov, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2009-10 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2010-11. Next up, Milan Jurcina.
#23 / Defenseman / Washington Capitals
Jun 07, 1983
Key Stat: During his time in Washington, Milan Jurcina registered over three times as many hits in a Caps uniform as Joe Corvo, while appearing in only nine more regular season games.
Interesting Stat: His teams had a combined record of 5-1-1 when Juice registered a point.
The Good: Jurcina's past reputation of being undisciplined began to fade this year, and he was whistled for just seven minor penalties in twenty-seven games with the Caps. That time spent out of the box was put to good use, as Jurcina saw his shorthanded time increase from just over a minute per game last year to over two minutes per game this year - third highest among Caps defensemen before his trade.
Beyond that, Jurcina's brief stint with Washington this year was one that featured more consistent, intelligent play from the big defenseman. He started the season out strong and went 12 games before even registering a negative plus/minus. His 1.78 hits per game was the third highest on the team, trailing only Shaone Morrisonn and John Erskine in that regard.
The Bad: Despite playing on an offensively gifted team - one that would, conceivably, inflate one's plus-minus rating - Jurcina finished out the 2009-10 portion of his Caps tenure exactly even. His mobility and speed continued to be an issue, as did his accuracy; seventeen missed shots puts him in the same neighborhood as teammates who played two to four times as many games as he did. And while he was a big body frequently called upon to kill penalties, his blocked shots per game was lower than anyone not named Sloan, Corvo or Alzner.
The Vote: Rate Jurcina 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: As one of several mid-level defensemen who will become UFAs this summer, can the Capitals afford to keep Jurcina? What role would he play should he stick around? Was a 27 game stint enough to earn a spot on next year's roster if the price is right?