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2016-17 Rink Wrap: Brett Connolly

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From Alzner to Winnik, we're taking a look at and grading the 2016-17 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2017-18. Next up, Brett Connolly.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Japers' Rink Player Card (click for a hi-res version; data via NHL.com, Corsica.hockey and Cap Friendly):

Connolly's Season, Game-by-Game (via HockeyViz, explained here):

Connolly and His Linemates (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Connolly's 5v5 Teammates and Competition (via HockeyViz, explained here):

Connolly's 5v5 Usage (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Connolly's With-or-Without You (via HockeyViz, explained here):

Connolly's Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Connolly's Six Seasons (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com):

Connolly’s Goals Against Replacement (GAR) Components (chart by @ChartingHockey, data by @DTMAboutHeart, explained here, Tableau here):

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

Previous Rink Wraps: None

Key Stat: With Connolly on the ice at five-on-five, the Caps scored over 70% of the goals. That ranked first in the league among skaters with at least 400 minutes played.

Interesting Stat: Connolly got just one secondary assist this season - April 4 vs Toronto. (It was a pretty one, though.)

The Good: Connolly exceeded expectations for a restricted free agent not even qualified by his team last year. The Caps dominated play with Connolly on the ice. They scored 70% of the goals and generated around 55% of the shots and chances. He had a big hand in that—his 1.28 goals-per-60 at 5v5 (a career high) ranked second on the team behind T.J Oshie and 13th league-wide. He also posted career highs in 5v5 primary assists, primary points, and points per 60, mainly playing on a line with Lars Eller and Andre Burakovsky. Connolly regularly flashed the hands and shot that led to his being picked sixth overall back in 2010, and along with Burakovsky and Eller, Connolly was part of arguably the best third line in the league.

At the end of the year, Connolly was the Washington nominee for the Masterton Trophy, awarded annually to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

The Bad: Connolly was a regular scratch early in the year and was healthy scratched for the final six games of the postseason (after going pointless in the first seven). Connolly was the team’s least-trusted forward defensively—playing only a minute at 4-on-5 all season, and facing the weakest caliber of opposition forwards—and did poorly on the penalty front, too, taking many and drawing few.

Offensively, while Connolly scored goals at a torrid per-60 pace, for part of the year, he seemed like a passenger—capable of continuing an offensive play in transition or while cycling, but not really generating chances from nothing with speed and creativity, or starting the attack with strong defensive plays. That was fine on the third line, but he’ll need to do more when he plays higher in the lineup or with a lesser opposite wing than Andre Burakovsky, and he wasn’t able to in the limited opportunity he got this past season.

Finally, some of his production was because of the high individual shooting percentage (8th among forwards league-wide with at least 81 shots on goal this season). He was also second among forwards in PDO with at least 600 5v5 minutes, with most of the boost coming in save percentage—meaning his defensive mistakes will likely be more noticeable moving forward.

The Video:

The Vote: Rate Connolly 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: Can Connolly be counted on for 10-15 goals a season moving forward? Can he play more of a playmaking role if need be, and do it well enough to keep the Caps’ third line a scoring line? Can he be an effective top-unit or second-unit slot player in the Caps’ 1-3-1 power play? What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year?

Other Connolly Season Reviews: Peerless, RMNB

Poll

How do you rate Brett Connolly’s 2016-17 season?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    10
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    9
    (12 votes)
  • 12%
    8
    (24 votes)
  • 36%
    7
    (69 votes)
  • 21%
    6
    (40 votes)
  • 13%
    5
    (26 votes)
  • 4%
    4
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    3
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    2
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    1
    (1 vote)
187 votes total Vote Now