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Capitals Skaters Puck Possession and Player Usage

A look at how Adam Oates used his skaters this season and what they did with those minutes in terms of puck possession

Rob Carr

We've spent some time in the past talking about the Caps, puck possession and player usage. With the regular-season now in the rearview mirror, let's look at how things shook out in these areas... but slightly differently than how we have in the past.

Below is a chart that uses data from HockeyAnalysis and Behind the Net to show possession (an individual's Fenwick-For percentage (FF%) minus his teammate's FF% (TMFF%)) and zone starts. But whereas in the past we've looked at quality of competition on the y-axis, here we'll look at five-on-five ice time per game to get a better feel for how Adam Oates has deployed his troops. Finally, we've added one more layer, that being transparency to reflect games played (and give a Back to the Future vibe) - the darker the circle, the bigger the circle, and the higher it is on the vertical axis, the more impact a player's possession numbers have on the team's as a whole. Take a look (click to enlarge):


The big possession "anchors" should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention - it's Mike Ribeiro, John Erskine, Jason Chimera, with Troy Brouwer and the Karl Alzner-Mike Green pair also doing some tugging. (Other players are negative here, of course, but their impacts are smaller due to minutes and/or games played.)

The good news? Since Martin Erat returned to the lineup, the entire second line (i.e. Erat, Ribeiro and Brouwer) has been at 50% or better in Corsi and Fenwick in "close" situations. That's an impressive feat for the new guy to be pulling off. Also, don't sleep on the season John Carlson had, especially after a rough start, and ditto the top line, as Nicklas Backstrom has helped turn Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson from big red to blue. (Sidenote: if the Caps ever iced a line of Wojtek Wolski, Backstrom and Erat, the other team might never touch the puck.)

Anyway, pretty chart, and if the Caps can get a bit more from that Alzner-Green pairing at even-strength and everyone else keeps doing what they've been doing, this "bad possession team" might be in pretty decent shape in that area going forward.