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2014-15 Rink Wrap: Alex Ovechkin

From Alzner to Wilson, we're taking a look at and grading the 2014-15 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2015-16. Next up, Alex Ovechkin.

Clyde Caplan

Japers' Rink Player Card (click for a hi-res version, and a glossary of terms used in this post can be found here; data via NHL.comwar-on-ice.comGeneral Fanager and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com):

Ovechkin card

Ovechkin linemates

Ovechkin usage

Ovechkin's Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (2007-15):

Ovechkin rolling CF

Ovechkin's HERO Chart (via Own The Puck):

Ovechkin HERO

Ovechkin's Past Eight Seasons (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com; click to enlarge):

Ovechkin HA

Key Stats: Ovechkin scored 53 goals to earn a third-consecutive and fifth career Richard Trophy as the League's leading goal-getter. His six 50-goal campaigns (in ten seasons) tie him for the third-most in NHL history (with Mario Lemieux, Guy LaFleur and Marcel Dionne), trailing only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy (nine apiece).

Interesting Stat: Despite not having played a game in nearly a month, Ovechkin still leads all skaters in shot attempts this playoff season with 142 (Duncan Keith is second with 127; Ovechkin also has a 107-104 edge over Brent Seabrook to lead in even-strength shot attempts).

The Good: Another year, another Hart Trophy-caliber campaign for Alex Ovechkin, who will finish in the top-three in voting for League MVP for a remarkable fifth time in ten seasons (he's won three of those). Ovechkin led the League in goals (53), power-play goals (25, a franchise record and most since Teemu Selanne scored 25 in power-play-happy 2006-07), game-winning goals (11), multi-goal games (15, a franchise record, though nary a hat trick among them) and shots on goal (395, and the ninth time in ten seasons Ovechkin has led the League in shots) and finished fourth in scoring with 81 points (his third-lowest point total in an 82-game season, but welcome to the NHL in 2015). And while many observers will refer to 2014-15 as a "bounce back" year for the Caps' captain, he actually picked up where he left off in 2013-14, with a nearly identical .65 goals-per-game mark and the slightest of drops in assists-per-game, from .36 to .35. The big rebound, of course, came in the dubious plus-minus metric, where he followed up a much-maligned (and legitimately embarrassing) minus-35 rating with a plus-10 mark... thanks in large part to the improved system and personnel around him (which helped him to his best possession numbers since Bruce Boudreau's last season behind the Caps' bench), better puck luck, and yes, an uptick in interest in what was going on on the defensive side of the ice.

Ovechkin also did a bit of rewriting of the Caps' history books in 2014-15. With a first-period assist against Calgary on November 4, he passed Peter Bondra and became the team's all-time leading scorer with 826 points (in 270 fewer games than Bondra played), and he'd add another 69 before the regular season ended. Later in the season, Ovechkin tied Michal Pivonka for the franchise lead in assists (418), but was (rightfully) passed by running-mate Nicklas Backstrom before he could break that record himself. He also passed Bondra for tops in team history in game-winning goals (73). Then he added one more milestone, passing Bondra on the organization's goal ledger, netting his 473rd on April 2 against the Canadiens (in 206 fewer games than Bondra played). Ovechkin is now the team's all-time leader in goals (475), points (895), power-play goals (176), game-winning goals (80), overtime goals (15), shots on goal  (3,830) and multi-goal games (100; hat tip to the Caps on those stats).

In the playoffs, Ovechkin scored a pair of goals and had a trio of assists in the first-round victory over the Islanders (including four points in the four wins), then scored three times and added a helper against the Rangers, including potting the Caps' only Game 7 tally.

Unquestionably, Alex Ovechkin had a terrific season, even if it ended the same way so many of his previous nine have. But that shouldn't surprise anyone - he's a fantastic player playing fantastic hockey and making those around him better, and he's showing no signs of slowing down.

The Bad: The Caps allowed a lot of shots against with Ovechkin on the ice at five-on-five (only Brooks Laich saw more shots head towards the Caps' net than Ovechkin among regular forwards), though that probably owes in part to Ovechkin's frequent power-versus-power deployments and with his possession numbers on the right side of 50%, shot suppression isn't necessarily a critical focal point if it were to come at the expense of shot generation. Then again, if we take a closer look at the shots being taken while Ovechkin was on the ice at five-on-five, perhaps there's some cause for concern - per war-on-ice, only Eric Fehr and Jason Chimera yielded "high-danger scoring chances" (HSC) at a higher rate than Ovechkin among the forwards, and Ovechkin trailed those two, as well as Laich, Jay Beagle, Joel Ward and Andre Burakovsky in generating HSCs. In fact, Ovechkin finished with a HSCF% of just 49.2% (i.e. opponents had more high-danger chances while Ovechkin was on the ice than the Caps did), placing him ahead of only Tom Wilson, Chimera and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Hmm.

The story was similar in the playoffs, where Ovechkin notably went without a point in Games 3 through 6 of the second round, registering just that single Game 7 goal in three games with a chance to close out the Rangers. That's the way the puck bounces sometimes... but Ovechkin now has one point in his last six games in which he could bounce Henrik Lundqvist, all losses.

The Video:

The Comic:

BS: Historicalvechkin

The Vote: Rate Ovechkin 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: With nothing really left to accomplish other than leading his team to the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond, what does Ovechkin, personally, need to do to help make that happen? Does Barry Trotz's system get the most out of Ovechkin, and, if not, how can it be tweaked to maximize the League's most dangerous goal-scorer? Are there any reasons for concern in Ovechkin's game overall? What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year?

Ovechkin