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The Noon Number: Faceoff Fall-Off

A look at the void left by #83

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals - Game Two Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

20.4 - Percent of Capitals’ faceoffs taken by Jay Beagle last season, of which he won 58.5% (584 of 998). Since his departure via free agency last summer, the Caps have replaced that faceoff workload largely by committee, with Nicklas Backstrom increasing his percentage of the team’s faceoffs taken by 2.9%, Lars Eller going up 3.2%, Travis Boyd up 5.2%, and Nic Dowd chipping in with 9.8% for a total between the four of 21.1% of the team’s overall draws.

While they’ve made up for his absence in the number of faceoffs taken, however, they’ve been unable to replicate Beagle’s success rate (which was fifth-best in the League last season, min. 100 draws, and third-best at even strength). Those four centers combined have won just 48.5% of their draws - Backstrom and Eller have pretty much maintained their rate from last year and Dowd is just under 50%, but Boyd has seen his number go from 50% (in limited usage last year) to 37.4% this year.

Combine that with the fact that others have seen their own faceoff win percentage drop off significantly from last season - Evgeny Kuznetsov has gone from 44.2% to 38.6% while Stephenson has dropped to 49.2% from 54.8% - and it’s easy to see why the team’s overall faceoff percentage has dropped to a dead-last 46% in 2018-19.