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2014-15 Rink Wrap: Michael Latta

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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, Michael Latta.

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):

Latta card

Latta linemates

Latta usage

Latta's Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (2013-15):

Latta rolling CF

Latta's 2014-15 Season (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com; click to enlarge):

Latta HA

Previous Rink Wrap: 2013-14 (6.27 rating)

Key Stat: No Cap who played more than 18 games surrendered high danger scoring chances against at a lower rate than Latta.

Interesting Stat: There were ten forwards in the NHL this year who saw at least 100 minutes of ice and scored zero goals. Of these ten, none of them had more ice time than Michael Latta.

The Good: Despite the dubious distinction of having played 57 games without netting a puck, Latta was actually on the ice for 12 Caps goals in 2014-2015 and only 9 again, for a gaudy 57% goals-for percentage. He also became a guy the Caps could depend on to step in when the bell rang, as he rang up eight fights on the season, and with some heavyweights throwing down on the other side. There's not a whole lot of guys on the Caps you want see sitting in the box for five minutes, but if the role of obligatory fourth-line puncher (a role that is objectively losing its purchase on the game) can be teased out from under Tom Wilson's name, it's a job well done for Latta.

But Latta did more than ice his knuckles this year. He played in 57 games for a team that was one goal away from the Eastern Conference Finals. His six points may be modest, but they are a career high. Latta's career moved forward from 2013-2014 to the next year, so good on him.

The Bad: No forward on the Capitals produced points at fives at a lower rate than Latta's 0.84 points/60 minutes. Every team has a someone as the caboose in that regard, and this year the honor goes to Latta. Not that anyone expects Latta to be a dynamo, it would be nice (or at least the thinnest of silver linings) to see Latta, as the lasting body still in a Caps uniform after the Filip Forsberg trade, exceed expectations a little bit. After all, he did draw some pretty flimsy competition this season, and he did spend most of his time with a former first round draft pick and another hard-nosed teammate who, well, exceeded expectations.

Latta was also on the losing side of the year-long faceoff battle, and his linemates tended to possess the puck better when they weren't with him.

The Video

The Vote: Rate Latta 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: What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year? Is there any reason to believe that the Michael Latta of the future isn't the Michael Latta that we saw in 2014-2015. What does Latta need to do to not just be a dime-a-dozen bottom-liner?

Latta