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2016-17 Rink Wrap: Nate Schmidt

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, Nate Schmidt.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

Schmidt and His Defense Partners (chart by @muneebalamcu):

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

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

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

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

Schmidt's Four Seasons (via

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

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

Key Stat: Nate Schmidt recorded the least ice time of all Capitals defensemen (929 minutes), but you already knew that, now, didn’t you?

Interesting Stat: Schmidt led all NHL defensemen in on-ice Goals For Percentage (65.6%).

The Good:

For being the so-called “7th defenseman” on the Washington Capitals (Trotz’s words, not mine!), Nate Schmidt sure played like...oh, I don’t know, probably the first- or second-best. Let’s roll the ol’ ticker-stat-tape, shall we?

When Nate Schmidt was on the ice, his Goals Against/60 rate (1.54) was 2nd lowest among Caps defensemen, after only his partner, Brooks Orpik. But perhaps I’m burying the lede: Schmidt’s 1.54 GA/60 rate was the 4th best in the entire NHL among D.

What’s even more fascinating about that figure is its corresponding one, what Hockey Analysis calls “OppGA/60.” Essentially, it calculates the rate at which Schmidt’s opponents usually score goals when they aren’t facing Schmidty Boy. That number is 2.18, and it means that opposing forwards tend to score more than a half goal fewer per 60 minutes when they face Nate Schmidt.

Okay, well, maybe there just aren’t many goals scored either way when Schmidt is out there! Ha-ha, how about that? Oh, nope, that’s right: Schmidt led all NHL defensemen in Goals For% (65.6), and was 12th in the NHL in Goals For/60 (2.94), behind only Dmitry Orlov on the Capitals.

Now, the sister stat to that tidbit is what Hockey Analysis calls “TMGF/60,” and it measures how many goals Schmidt’s linemates usually score when he isn’t on the ice with them. That number is 2.59, and it means that Schmidt’s linemates score nearly half a goal more per 60 when they play with Schmidt.

Let’s see, let’s see, what else...OH! Right, how silly of me: Schmidt had the highest shooting percentage among Capitals defensemen (5.26%), besting offensive firebrands Kevin Shattenkirk, Dmitry Orlov, and John Carlson. Of course, Schmidt only shot 57 times all year, but he made them count when he did.

All of this while skating the second-most minutes in his career (929). Looks like you’ve got reason to flash that smile, Nate Dogg.

The Bad:

You can fairly summarize the “Bad” section of Nate Schmidt’s season as, “Usage: Not Nate’s Fault.” After all, a guy can only do what he’s given the chance to do, and Trotz seemed gut-called sure that Nate Schmidt couldn’t do jack schmidt. That’s why, despite his stellar numbers (rates, at least), Schmidt saw the least ice time of any regular Caps defenseman. For God’s sake, Brooks Orpik saw 28% more time than Schmidt, and Karl Alzner? Brick-footed, Alberta-bound Karl Alzner? He got 45% more opportunities than Schmidt.

Also necessarily ringing up as “Bad” but also not at all Schmidt’s fault is his deployment. Schmidt’s Defensive Zone Start Percentage (26.1%) was lowest among Caps defensemen, meaning that, yes, he was indeed somewhat sheltered in his usage.

Do these things clear away like vapor and ether the fabulous statistical season the Schmidt had? Hell, no. Do they make you really, really, really wonder why Schmidt sat out more than one-quarter of the regular season and had to split duties with Karl Alzner during the playoffs?

Uh, yeah. They sure as hell do.

The GIF/Video:

The Vote: Rate Schmidt 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 pairing would you like to see Schmidt playing on next year? Who would you ideally pair him with? Would you rather Vegas take Grubauer or Schmidt, if it came down to it? What Schmidt hair style from this year was your favorite? What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year?


How do you rate Nate Schmidt’s 2016-17 season?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    (19 votes)
  • 31%
    (46 votes)
  • 34%
    (50 votes)
  • 19%
    (29 votes)
  • 2%
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
147 votes total Vote Now