To say the Washington Capitals have handled lots of accidents throughout the 2022-23 season can be a serious understatement. Crew docs have actually earned their pay this season, tending to the Capitals regular move of casualties.
Because of this, the Capitals have been required to make fairly a couple of corrspaonding roster strikes repeatedly all through the season, which included the signing of free brokers and quite a few callups from AHL Hershey. One of many Capitals forwards caught-up within the perpetual roster flux has been ahead Aliaksei Protas.
Earlier than digging too deep into the efficiency and administration of Protas, it ought to be famous that Protas was the Capitals solely “versatile” ahead this season, as he might transfer freely between Hershey and Washington with out having to clear waivers. That’s very useful if you find yourself juggling a variety of different forwards and making an attempt to determine what works greatest for the group. Shifting him to and from Hershey (paper or for actual) was merely the trail of least resistance almost about roster administration.
Nevertheless, that roster flexibility has additionally restricted Protas’ taking part in time this season, which has clearly been a hinderance in his improvement. Actually, Protas has solely been capable of work his means again into the lineup when there was an harm among the many Capitals ahead group.
However is that one of the best play for the group? What if Protas was wanted full time in Washington, and has confirmed he belongs in Washington lineup each night time? Let’s check out Protas’ efficiency to date this season.
Let’s start by taking a fast take a look at the fundamental numbers for Protas. Protas has performed 45 video games for the Capitals to date this season. The Capitals are 22-16-7 with Protas within the lineup. That’s a factors share of .567%.
Clearly there are quite a few different variables that go into successful video games, so lets take this as one information level and proceed the evaluation.
Protas returned to the Capitals lineup this week, out of pure necessity, when Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (harm) and ahead Sonny Milano (non-Covid sickness) have been unable to play. His final recreation motion was greater than a month prior in opposition to San Jose on February 12.
Whatever the month layoff from precise recreation motion, Protas returned and made a direct impression on the group in each video games he’s performed to date. Right here’s a quick breakdown of his line efficiency for every recreation:
[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, MoneyPuck and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary]
The next desk plots the anticipated objectives for share (xGF%) line stats from the Rangers recreation. [Click to enalrge]
The fourth line of Protas, Dowd and Aube-Kubel returned the fourth line to the prominence demonstrated earlier within the season and in latest season’s previous (extra on that later). The fourth line posted an anticipated objectives for share (xGF%) of 60.27%, the Capitals second greatest offensive line within the recreation.
Protas returned to the lineup once more the next night time, as Sonny Milano was nonetheless unable to return to the lineup. The fourth line can be the one line that remained constant all through all the recreation, as they performed nicely proper from the beginning of the sport. [Click to enlarge]
It bears repeating, the fourth line is primarily charged with going through and neutralizing the opposing group’s prime line, so any time they’ll put up an xGF% higher than 50%, the opposing groups stars are under 50%. That’s spectacular, to say the least.
EXPECTED GOALS FOR PERCENTAGE (xGF%) – FIVE-ON-FIVE
Subsequent, let’s dig slightly deeper on Protas’ private stats by first rating his anticipated objectives for share for the season. [Click to enlarge].
Protas at present has the second-best anticipated objectives for share on the group. The one subject may be the truth that the participant he competes with for roster spots at present has one of the best anticipated objectives for share on the group, however that’s no purpose to experience the pine. The 2 have labored very nicely along with Nic Dowd on the fourth line.
FORWARD LINE COMBINATIONS
Lastly, let’s take a look at Protas’ efficiency almost about his line assignments to date this season. The subsequent graph plots the entire Capitals line mixtures from this season (minus the gamers that have been moved on the commerce deadline).[Click to enlarge].
Protas has been on seven of the Capitals prime 14 line mixtures to date this season. There was just one line mixture that Protas has been on (Protas-Kuznetsov-Mantha) that has a mean under 50%. That’s actually spectacular.
It’s comprehensible that Protas was the best moveable piece this season, because it occurs to many younger gamers within the early phases of their careers. I recall a season of callups and send-downs for Dmitry Orlov, earlier than he was capable of work his means into the lineup. The each day strikes have been made extra for wage cap administration functions, however nonetheless, the scenario turned comical in the direction of the top of the season.
The distinction with Protas is the truth that he’s greater than prepared and has constantly proven he improves the group when he’s within the Capitals lineup. Who sits in his place is actually a tricky name, however it must be made, as not all forwards are producing on the stage that Protas is producing.
I feel we’re seeing the primary indicators of this upfront of the Capitals tilt with the St. Louis Blues Friday night time, because it seems like Protas will stay within the beginning lineup whereas Anthony Mantha will sits.
By Jon Sorensen