In the noon number discussion on Japer’s Rink revolved around roster contribution to scoring. The original post by Becca was a little vague in terms of understanding the relative contribution by Caps players to scoring as it compared to the rest of the league which left some questions in the comments about what we can expect from next season. One of the regular posters seemed extra concerned about having lost bottom-six scoring depth (departures of guys like Conno and Bura, additions of guys like Panik and Hathaway) and changes in the D-corps.
This, however, was the way I saw it in my response:
The Caps rostered very few players over all, 26 total, tied with with the Isles, Sharks and Leafs, only TBL rostered fewer with 25. By way of comparison, 22 teams rostered 30 or more, nine teams 35 or more and 2 teams broke 40 (Anaheim and Ottawa). While the Caps did suffer some noteworthy injuries, the roster depth meant minimum callups comparative to the majority of the league.
Of the Caps rostered players the majority of them contributed to scoring with 23. Now, as a raw number that probably seems low, but by itself it’s not a definition of scoring contribution. In the Caps case 89% of their rostered players contributed to scoring (23 of 26). And, of the three that didn’t, one never saw ice time (Walker) despite being on the roster and two more saw limited ice time during their short runs with the team playing on the blue line (Sieggy as an injury replacement and Jensen as a trade deadline acquisition). Every “regular” on the team scored at least once during the season, as it should be, and they got some timely depth scoring..
By way of comparison in the low rostered number teams the Isles saw an 85% contribution rate, Sharks had 89%, Leafs had a whopping 96% and Tampa posted 84%. Looking at some of the middle of the road roster sizes ranked 14-16 with 32 players found the Rags (28 scoring) had a 88% contribution rate, Columbus (24) with 75% contribution, and Buffalo (25) had 78%. Meanwhile the top five of the league for rostering players Anaheim had a 67% contribution rate, Ottawa came in with 71%, while Jersey, Boston and Vancouver all had 76%. Want a few more? Cup winner STL (24 of 30) was at 80%. Arch rival Pittsburgh (28 of 33) were at 85%.
I didn’t dig deeper into their rosters to see who the non-contributors were, sorry. Nor did I take the time to look at some of the historical numbers to see how it compares. However, the Caps relative contribution of rostered players to scoring is pretty good next to the teams in the league from last year. And, their non-contributing players, the reasons for not scoring make sense… While, the Leafs look like the extreme version of “success” and Anaheim looks like the extreme version of struggles, it generally seems like roster regulars score and this is really about depth contribution of non-regulars and that could very well be a function of a number of things — I would speculate the reason for the callup affects the function of the callup’s role (who is missing they are replacing) probably means a lot as well as the quality of the prospect system overall, the quality of the AHL or other affiliate they are pulling from, the quality of the scouting in terms of waiver wire and trade pickups, and so on.
In terms of what this means for next season? Chances are there will be some call up who becomes the equivalent of Walker in terms of getting a sweater but no ice time, or such limited ice time that there isn’t an opportunity to score. Chances are that as Jensen and Sieggy will both score. Jensen’s historical numbers with Detroit suggest he can find the back of the net given a full season of games with the Caps (he had 2 in 60 games with Detroit before coming over to DC), and Jensen will have the benefit of a full training camp to learn the system, a stable partner to skate with, and defined responsibilities to his role which should help him out. Sieggy might be a little harder to predict since we don’t know how much roster sharing he will do with Djoos in the bottom pairing but he was shooting about a .46 per game rate (12 on 26) in his limited use that the increased ice time and a partner that is an upgrade from skating with Orpik for a good part of the season means he would likely find the net too.
The rest of the D all have demonstrated they can score in the NHL. Carlson, Orlov, Kempny all did so last season as Capitals. Gudas did it with Philly and although he’s probably going to see decreased ice time and more defensive responsibility on the third pair still should hit the back of the net based on his historical numbers.
And, of the regulars slated for the Forwards everyone has a history of scoring something when given their normal ice time including every one of the new guys. None of them are going to have much of a different role from what they were asked to do for their respective teams last season so they all should have similar probability to provide at least one goal just based on that. Honestly, unless someone has a historically cold steak to challenge the likes of Gomez during his time with the Habs I fully expect all of them, yes, even Haglin who has his share of cold streaks in the recent past, to hit the net more than once. I mean, for this exercise they only need to hit it once! Every one of them has recently enough that it’s really not a question of if, but rather, when they should score.
Which really only leaves anyone pressed into extended service due to injuries where they’re playing a role outside of their comfort zone, or someone has a lengthy loss of ice time due to injury, or someone comes over in a late trade who just doesn’t accumulate enough opportunity to score. It’s kinda hard to predict who those players might be to even begin to speculate if they can score. Although, I can tell you that it won’t likely be an opportunity of Walker the Aussie Ranger to redeem himself as I believe he’s moved on from the Caps system for now.