The Key Stat: Nic Dowd scored 11 goals during this shortened season, setting a new career high and cracking double digits for the first time.
The Good: The Capitals’ fourth line was incredibly steady this season, and a lot of that was due to Nic Dowd anchoring the line at center. Said fourth line was often deployed in both defensive situations, which Dowd thrives in, and in more overall critical moments. Dowd was also a vital piece of Washington’s penalty kill this season, which had a success rate of 84% on the season. Because of both his and Coach Laviolette’s increased confidence in his overall play, Dowd’s average ice time shot up by roughly three and a half minutes to 14:22 per game. Read more about that confidence, and the renewed sense of joy, Nic Dowd brought to the ice this season here.
Dowd was also very valuable at the faceoff dot this season, winning a career-high and team-high 56.3% of his matchups. For a team that struggled mightily at the dot this year, this helped make Dowd an invaluable part of the lineup. This is also likely a huge factor in why Dowd had a defensive zone start rate of a whopping 84.3%.
The Bad: Dowd might have set a new career high in goals this abbreviated season, but he also set a career high in penalty minutes with 31. That is the fifth-highest on the team for time spent in the sin bin, which is not exactly ideal for one of the Capitals’ top penalty killers. Additionally, while most penalties usually seem ill-advised, Dowd seemed to have a particular penchant for boneheaded offensive-zone penalties this season.
The Discussion: Nic Dowd was arguably the steadiest third of the Capitals’ fourth line this season — would switching things up and giving him newer (re: younger) linemates improve his game? Is his increased offensive production sustainable? Is his spike in PIMs a one-off or the start of a worrisome trend? Finally, what would it take for you to give Dowd a 10 next season?
The Other Dowd Season Reviews: Coming soon!
The Vote: Rate Nic Dowd 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.
How do you rate Nic Dowd’s 2020-21 season?
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