From Alzner to Wideman, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2010-11 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2011-12. Next up, Jason Arnott.
#44 / Center / Washington Capitals
Oct 11, 1974
$4,500,000 in 2010-11; UFA this summer
|Regular Season (NJD)||62||13||11||24||-9||32||2||3
|Regular Season (WSH)||11||4||3||7||3||8||2||1
|Regular Season (TOT)||73||17||14||31||-6||40||4||4
Key Stat: The Caps' power play clicked at a rate of 25% (8-for-32) in the eleven games in which Arnott played, thanks in part to his two power play tallies. It was 22.9% effective overall (11-for-48) in the final nineteen games of the regular season.
Interesting Stat: Five of his seven points were either on a tying goal in the final minute (1-1-2) or on the game-winner (1-2-3). He also assisted on both the overtime game-winner in Game 2 of the Caps' first-round series and the
The Good: When Arnott was brought in at the trade deadline, there were questions about his age, his speed, his attitude, his worth in the face of what was seen by some as a hefty price, etc. In just 20 games, however, Arnott established himself as a solid second-line center who could chip in with some timely offense while providing a veteran voice in the locker room.
Three of his four goals and two of his three assists in the regular season were on tallies that involved either Alex Ovechkin or Alexander Semin (or both). Arnott also boosted the power play, providing the team with more flexibility on the man-advantage and giving the coaching staff another option besides "put Ovechkin and Green on the point and have them shoot it". Despite the team's overall lackluster performance on the power play, his two points with the extra man ranked third on the team and his points-per-60 on the power play trailed only Ovechkin, and he registered the best +/- at even strength among anyone who played in all nine games.
What most will remember about his 2010-11 stint with the Caps, however, is the leadership he brought to a team that badly needed another veteran voice - particularly one who had "been there", who had won a Cup and knew what it took. He'd barely been in DC 24 hours before he stepped up and demanded more of his teammates, and immediately set himself with the task of mentoring, among others, Ovechkin and Semin. Not surprising, of course, considering who once mentored him...
The Bad: Despite his ability to solidify the center position, Arnott struggled at times with faceoffs, finishing at or above 50% in just four of his eleven regular season games and four of nine in the postseason. While his power play prowess continued in the playoffs (relatively speaking), Arnott registered exactly 0 even strength goals through nine playoff games, and an injury limited his ice time and effectiveness in the first two rounds. And ultimately his leadership and mentoring wasn't enough to push this team where it needed to go - namely out of the second round.
The Vote: Rate Arnott 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: Arnott waived his no trade clause to come to Washington at the end of February, citing a chance to win another Cup as the main motivation. With his ability to provide additional leadership and a veteran presence at center, should the Caps look into re-signing him? What would his role be on a team with young, talented pivots waiting in the wings? And after playing out the final year of a five-year deal that paid him $4.5 million per year, what would his asking price be this time around and could the Caps afford to meet it?