The Key Stat: One season after not missing a single game, Hagelin played in just 64.6% of the Caps’ games (lowest in his career) due to a January stint in COVID protocols and a career-threatening eye injury suffered in early March.
The Good: After a brutal first half of the season offensively (just two goals - one into an empty net - and five assists in 43 games through January), Hagelin warmed up in February, potting a goal and six assists (including a couple of multi-assist outings) in the month’s first half-dozen games. The 33-year-old Swede skated nearly two minutes per night on the penalty kill and was largely adequate in those minutes. On January 22, Hagelin became the 20th player from the 2007 draft class to skate in 700 NHL regular season games... not bad for a sixth-round pick, 168th overall.
The Bad: With Hagelin, “The Bad” can be split into two categories: bad luck and bad play. On the former, there’s the eye injury and... well, skip to “The Video” below. On the latter, Hagelin’s days of being a productive NHLer appear to be well behind him at this point. Never an offensive powerhouse, the winger’s goal rate dropped to a career low, and, if not for a couple of games in February, his assist rate would’ve been right there as well. His finishing was/is atrocious (a career-low 4.2 shooting percentage), and his rate of individual five-on-five scoring chances was the second-worst on the team.
Hagelin has been able to get away with being a subpar offensive player in the past because he’s been a strong defender, but that part of his game slipped in 2021-22 as well. Put it all together and you have the Caps’ worst forward, both by actual goals and expected tallies:
Hagelin was playing better when his season was unfortunately cut short, but to that point, he was showing as an abysmal offensive player with a bad penalty rate and differential who played subpar even-strength defense and whose penalty-killing abilities don’t come close to offsetting the weaknesses in his overall game.
(Sorry, we had to.)
The Discussion: Hagelin will turn 34 in August and has one more year left on his current contract, carrying with it an annual average value of $2.75-million. He is optimistic about his future (both as a hockey player and a sighted individual, presumably), and we wish him nothing but the best on that front. That said, what should Caps fans realistically expect from Hagelin going forward? Can you envision (no pun intended) him slotting in on that familiar fourth-line wing next season alongside running mates Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway, or do you see (sorry, can’t help it) him calling it quits? And finally, what would it take for you to give Hagelin a 10 next season?
The Vote: Rate Carl Hagelin 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 Carl Hagelin’s 2021-22 season?
This poll is closed