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2021-22 Rink Wrap: Nick Jensen

From Backstrom to Wilson, we’re taking a look at and grading the 2021-22 season for the players who played a significant role for the Caps during the campaign, with an eye towards 2022-23. Next up, Nick Jensen.

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Washington Capitals v Florida Panthers - Game Two Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Stats:

Regular Season

Playoffs

The Charts:

via The Athletic
via @JFreshHockey
via Evolving-Hockey
via HockeyViz
via HockeyViz

The Key Stat: Jensen finished the season with a +32 rating. Okay, yes, +/- is a flawed stat, and never one that should be taken without additional context (although to be honest that’s true of most stats available today)... but it’s not a completely useless one, and when someone comes in on the high or low side it can paint part of a picture. Not only was Jensen’s +32 mark the best on the Caps, but it also just missed putting him into the top 10 among all NHL defensemen.

The Good: Part of the story behind that +32 was Jensen’s big jump forward offensively this season, something that started last year but really came to fruition in 2021-22. No one’s going to mistake Jensen for Carlson when it comes to offense, of course, but he did set new career highs in goals, assists, and points - and picked up his first career game-winning goal back in February in a victory over the Predators.

Last season Jensen saw most of his time with - and actually thrived - alongside Zdeno Chara; this season, he got what can only be considered an upgrade (no offense, Zee) when he was slotted in next to Dmitry Orlov, and the duo was easily the team’s best and most consistent blueline pair over the course of the season. Together they saw more DZ and NZ starts than the other two pairs, and yet still had the highest GF% at evens than the others (minimum 100 minutes played together) at just over 69%.

While the team’s power play didn’t always take advantage (at least for a good portion of the season), Jensen was quite adept at drawing penalties and led all Caps’ blueliners in penalties drawn vs. taken, with 12 more drawn than taken.

The Bad: If there was a knock on Jensen’s game this year, and it’s actually pretty tough to find a lot, you have to turn to the playoffs - where he was frankly not quite up to the standard he’d set in the regular season. He was one of only two Caps to not have a single point in the team’s opening-round series against the Panthers, and finished a -5 in six games. His xGF% at evens was the worst among all Caps’ defensemen, and the Panthers generated a whopping 86 scoring chances when he was on the ice - the most against any blueliner for Washington.

The Video:

Not an offensive player, my foot.

The Discussion: Given his performance over the last two seasons, has Jensen earned a larger role on the Caps’ blueline - or is he better served sticking with a partner he’s obviously comfortable with? Speaking of that partnership, how much of his recent success do you think stems from working with Orlov and how much comes from him hitting his stride with the team (and, notably, the coaching staff)? Jensen has one more year remaining on a $2.5M contract - what does his next contract look like? And finally, what would it take for you to give Jensen a 10 next season?

The Vote: Rate Nick Jensen 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.

Poll

How do you rate Nick Jensen’s 2021-22 season?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    10
    (13 votes)
  • 31%
    9
    (38 votes)
  • 38%
    8
    (46 votes)
  • 15%
    7
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    6
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    5
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    4
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    3
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    2
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    1
    (0 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now