The Capitals Defense: Annual Performance Review – Part 2


A couple of weeks go we took a primary take a look at the Washington Capitals protection and their efficiency over the course of the 2020-21 common season (right here). In at this time’s put up we’ll broaden on that preliminary analysis and supply further context by assessing every participant and their particular person performances in the course of the 2020-21 common season. We’ll additionally add a scoring abstract for the entire stats on the finish of the put up.

The Capitals performed a complete of eight defensemen, together with Jonas Siegenthaler, within the abbreviated 2020-21 season. So as to add somewhat extra context, the Capitals performed a complete of 10 defensemen within the earlier three seasons, however these seasons lasted 69, 82 and 82 video games, respectively.

To attain a greater understanding of how every participant carried out this season, we’ll assess just a few further statistics, together with the next:

  • Zone Begins
  • Scoring
  • Takeaway/Giveaways and Turnover Differentials
  • Penalties Taken/Drawn
  • Possession/Shot Metrics
  • Targets For and In opposition to/Anticipated Targets For and In opposition to
  • Hits/Blocked Photographs

This put up will wrap with a scoring abstract on the finish. As soon as once more, knowledge is courtesy of MoneyPuck, Pure Stat Trick and the NHL.


The primary chart merely plots the zone begins for every defenseman – offensive zone (blue), impartial zone (orange), defensive zone (pink) and on the fly (cyan). [Click to enlarge]

Nothing too earth shattering right here. Nevertheless, the info is helpful for getting an total really feel for every gamers designated position on the blueline. Gamers with higher defensive zone begins (Jensen, van Riemsdyk and Chara) have been clearly thought of extra defensive in nature, and sometimes deployed with the Capitals defensive/checking strains (backside six).

Conversely, gamers with higher offensive zone begins (Carlson, Orlov, Dillon and Schultz) have been cconsidered offensive defensemen and deployed with the Capitals top-six forwards. Maintain this in thoughts after we take a look at total scoring metrics for the blueline.

SCORING (All Conditions)

We start our evaluation of the Capitals defensemen on the offensive aspect of the sport. The next desk plots targets (yellow), targets per 60 minutes (purple), assists (cyan), assists per 60 minutes (inexperienced), main assists (pink) and secondary assists (brown) for all conditions. [Click to enlarge]

To no shock, John Carlson led in targets and assists in addition to targets per 60 minutes of ice time. He was tied with Justin Schultz for the group lead in assists per 60 minutes. Dmitry Orlov was an in depth second in each class.


Producing turnovers, or turning the puck over can be a key metric for any blueline participant. The following chart reveals takeaways (pink), giveaways (blue) and every gamers turnover differential (orange).

As we famous in an earlier mid-season evaluation, Dmitry Orlov led the group with the perfect turnover differential this season. John Carlson and Trevor van Riemsdyk have been second and third on the blueline in turnover differential.


The following chart plots penalty infraction minutes (PIM – blue), PIM drawn (orange) and PIM differential (orange) for every Capitals blueliner in all conditions within the common season.

Brenden Dillon incurred essentially the most penalty minutes, adopted by Zdeno Chara and Nick Jensen. Dillon additionally drew essentially the most PIM’s adopted by Chara and Jensen. Justin Schultz had the perfect differential, whereas Zdeno Chara and Brenden Dillon had the worst differential.


The next graph plots the shot makes an attempt percentages for (CF% – gentle blue), high-danger shot makes an attempt for percentages (HDCF% – medium-light blue), scoring possibilities for percentages (SCF% – medium darkish blue) and anticipated targets for percentages (xGF% – darkish blue) for the Capitals defensemen at even energy this season. (Click on to enlarge).

Zdeno Chara and Justin Schultz have been the one two defensemen under 50% in shot try percentages. Trevor van Riemsdyk and Dmitry Orlov had the perfect percentages percentages this season.

Trevor van Riemsdyk, Nick Jensen and Dmitry Orlov led all Capitals defensemen in high-danger makes an attempt and scoring possibilities for.

Solely Justin Schultz was under 50% in anticipated targets for (xGF%) percentages. Trevor van Riemsdyk, Zdeno Chara and Nick Jensen had the perfect xGF%.


The following graph plots the targets for (orange), targets towards (blue), targets for differential (pink) and targets towards differentials (cyan) for every of the Capitals defensemen.

Brenden Dillon was on the ice for essentially the most targets for (51), adopted by Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson. Dillon and Carlson have been tied for many targets towards with 40.

Brenden Dillon had the perfect targets for and anticipated targets for differential, adopted by Justin Schultz and John Carlson. This implies they have been on the ice for extra targets for than anticipated.

Justin Schultz had the perfect anticipated targets towards and precise targets towards ratio, that means there have been fewer precise targets than anticipated. He was adopted by Dmitry Orlov, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Nick Jensen.


The following graph merely plots blocked pictures (blue), blocked pictures per 60 minutes (orange), hits (pink) and hits per 60 minutes of ice time (cyan) for every Capitals defenseman in all conditions.

John Carlson and Zdeno Chara led all defenseman in blocked pictures whereas Brenden Dillon and Zdeno Chara led all defensemen in hits.


The next abstract desk merely ranks every participant in every of the aforementioned statistical classes. For what it’s value, the bottom complete rating signifies the perfect total rating, nevertheless, it needs to be famous that for extra correct evaluation, every class can be weighted, as not all classes carry equal significance/worth. The ultimate numbers are simply to offer a really feel for the general efficiency of every defenseman.

[Note: Lower number is best]

It may very well be argued that Dmitry Orlov not solely had his finest season with the Capitals, however was additionally the perfect defenseman for the Capitals this season, primarily based on the outlined statistical classes.

Nick Jensen additionally had his finest season as a Washington Capital, and was close to the highest of all Capitals defenseman this season. Was it being paired with Zdeno Chara? That most likely had rather a lot to do with it, nevertheless, Jensen additionally thrived when he was paired with Dmitry Orlov earlier within the season.

Brenden Dillon takes a number of warmth from Capitals followers, and a few of it’s worthy. Nevertheless, his fashion of play additionally holds worth for the Capitals blueline as an entire.

We’ll evaluation defensive pairings in our subsequent end-of-season efficiency evaluation of the Capitals defenseman.

By Jon Sorensen
Observe @nova_Caps


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