Discussion in 'Washington Capitals' started by Calicaps, Feb 22, 2021.
From the last thread:
He has a great on-ice save percentage (close to 98%), and a pedestrian on-ice shooting percentage of 9%. He's been getting very lucky overall with the percentages. But, as shown, he's rarely allowing chances against and is on the ice for some high-quality chances for so you'd expect his percentages to be pretty good (though not that good).
He has the highest percentage of offensive zone starts in the entire NHL at 26%. However, his deployment is quite similar to Oshie (24%) and Ovechkin (21%), who have also been heavily deployed in the offensive zone, but they haven't enjoyed nearly the same success as Kuznetsov on-ice.
His QoC chart is:
So yes, it does appear they are avoiding pitting him against top lines but he hasn't avoided the top lines completely and is still more-or-less going against other team's top pairings.
I think a fair conclusion is that he's been getting some soft minutes, but he's also been getting excellent results in these soft minutes. What more can he do?
My response to this would be how much does compete level and strength along the boards actually matter? 4th liners are typically really good at these things, but there's a reason they're 4th liners. Of course you want the complete package but there are only so many Sidney Crosbys (Crosbies?) in the league who are both excellent on the boards and excellent in transition and excellent setup men.
Thanks for doing all this. Interesting stuff. I hope that he's getting soft minutes just to get him back into game shape and not because he's not capable of more because we're not paying him $7.8M to get sheltered. Well, technically "we" aren't paying him anything -- Ted is -- but you know what I mean.
I think it means a lot. Being able to win those battles can be the difference between keeping possession of the puck in the offense zone or losing it, or clearing the puck out of the defensive zone or getting hemmed in. It could mean keeping possession of the puck on a PP or losing possession and having to waste 20 seconds retrieving the puck and then trying to set back up. It could lead to a penalties drawn/taken differential since tired legs at the ends of shifts tend to make bad choices, especially if they don't have the puck. And I think it says something to the other guys on the team if two of your best forwards are constantly getting ragdolled and dispossessed of the puck. I agree that they don't need to be Crosby or Oshie but they also don't need to be awful and lifeless in that aspect either. I don't think that's asking for too much.
Tilt the ice and the points will come sooner or later.
Kuzy's a player that frustrates many fans because they see all the things that he is lacking. He's not a "complete player." But that also doesn't mean he's a bad player. Sometimes fans get too focused on what a player doesn't do rather than what a player does do.
100% this last part. No matter how good you are as a passer or a shooter or a whatever, if you're a one-trick pony, your usefulness is limited. If you're where possession goes to die, you are a liability a lot of the time. No one expects Kuz (or Vrana for that matter) to be big hitters or Selke candidates or to crash and bang, but they need to be able to use their hands and skating effectively to maintain possession and generate scoring.
I'd argue that they do maintain possession and generate scoring. Kuzy is first on the team in expected goals for/60, Vrana is 3rd. Kuzy is 2nd in expected goals against, Vrana is 3rd. And they're #1 and #2 in goals-for percentage on the team.
Maybe they're just accomplishing this in other ways than banging in the corners?
I'm fully prepared to entertain just about any idea. However, that's not at all what I am seen on the ice. I think that to this point of the season playing with Ovehckin has been a major drag. That's what my eyes tell me and stats seem to agree. Playing with Vrana will give your shot counting stats a boost. He's been a shooting machine.
Lastly, the concept of 'momentum' is completely ignored in stats and critical on the ice. I think Kuznetsov's appreciation for winning by maintaining momentum over the course of a period/game is thoroughly lacking. Ditto for Vrana.
All that said, I don't have much of an issue with Kuznetsov's play this season. Compete level in the offensive zone has been as putrid as ever but, as you say, the results are there so who cares. Vrana is a bigger concern to me because I know that when things tighten up in the playoffs he is unable to remain effective playing his usual game. Yet, he shows no interest in working on his obvious deficiencies.
"Expected goals for" is not a thing even if someone is calculating it. That kind of foolishness is why I ignore the fancies.
Let's put it this way: Who is Lavi putting on the ice? Who is delivering in real terms, not hypotheticals?
@Corby78 mentioned in the GDT that the best possible outcome of Lavi's TOI distribution/line combo tinkering is that Vrana and Kuzy start playing to their actual real-world potential. And I agree. But I think we also can reasonably deduce from that TOI and tinkering that they are, as of now, not doing that.
In your previous post you said that style points don't matter, but they do matter on message boards. People on message boards want every player to work like Jay Beagle on every shift. They want Kuzy to not only be dangerous with scoring chances, but to work like Konowalchuk (or Oshie) every shift. And they want Kuzy to cut down on his unforced bad decisions, mainly because they stand out so plainly to message board game watchers. And Kuzy will never do all that, he's said before if he worked harder he would be an All Star but he doesn't really care to. And the fancy stats seem to show that overall he is driving the play in the Caps favor, even when his glaring mistakes take up 10 pages of HFBoard space.
Simple fact is, the coaches see things more clearly than we do. It may just be a simple appeal to authority here, but everyone trashing Kuzy and proposing these far fetched trades, most likely are no where close to seeing what the coaches see and valuing Kuzy like the coaches value him. Its the same with Eller. We spent a ages searching in vain for a #2 center until Kuzy developed, and we spent even longer searching for a #3 center until we landed Eller. Now some folks can't wait to run them out of town on the first thing smoking, because style points and board compete level are about the only thing that matters to most message board posters.
No practice today? I want to keep Backstrom and Oshie on the 3rd line.
1st Line ECHL center Lars Eller
Also spacing out our top 6 so we have 2 of them on each of the 3 lines is going to make us hard to play. Who ever is facing the 3rd D pairing should eat them up
Not saying you are wrong, but Kuzy also has a crazy lopsided zone starts ratio this year. I've never seen that before.
People are concerned because we went out in the first round for two straight seasons. That includes getting our ass handed to us last year in the least competitive series in recent memory.
Why would you not be concerned?
The thing is, it kinda is asking too much. Because for as much as we ALL want to see Vrana become tougher in the corners, it will always be a fact that some players compete harder in the dirty spots than others, and some players add pure skill more than others, and very few players are truly complete all the way around their game. Its as if we all assume the coaches don't see it, or they see it and don't coach the players to do things different, or they do try to change the players game and the players just refuse to change. I think the reality is more just that the coaches understand each player has their strengths and weakness, and they provide balance when the mix is right, and expecting Vrana to be Beagle is no more possible than expecting Beagle to be like Vrana. Especially in early regular season games. I mean when we won the Cup, it wasn't because of Jake's incredible board work ethic. It was because he was a highly effective sniper, and we needed that at the time. And because he was playing with two linemates that did all that dirty work along the board, so the mix was perfect. When the mix is off, too often we just want the players to be more of what they are not, whereas the coaches are always looking to find the right mix again.
There are a LOT of reasons for that, but Kuzy being Kuzy and Jake being Jake, those are only part of the playoff issues, not the whole story. And those two guys helped lead a Cup win the year before, without significant changes to their game, just significant changes to their results. Jake wasn't battling along the boards on the way to the Cup, he was a sniper who was on target. Making him grind isn't how we get him back on target.
We also, fired the HC, so lets start there before we blow up big parts of the roster that that won just a year prior.
Vrana was very much a secondary piece in the Cup win and contributed little.
In the last two playoff he has produced zero goals and zero assists in 15 games while the team desperately needed him. Vrana being Vrana in the playoffs is one of the main reasons we haven't gotten out of the 1st round since the Cup.
Right, but again a fair bit of that could have been how he was being used by TR vs how he was used by Barry. One difference is TR had him playin 2:30 more mins per game than he did in the Cup run. Would have to dive deeper into situational stats to glean more, but again, thats for the coaching staff to do.
I'll freely admin, Vrana looked lost in the playoffs this year, but again, they kinda all did.
Isn't this exactly how Lavi SHOULD be using him? He's not Bergeron after all. He's Kuzy.
2019 playoffs vrana not scoring was a pretty big factor but 2020 nobody showed up outside of very few players. There was no depth scoring and outside of Ovi, Carlson, Kuznetsov, and to an extent Oshie there wasnt much from the big boys either. To put lots of the blame on Vrana is unfair imo although I do agree his unability to score in the playoffs 2 playoffs in a row is somewhat concerning
Of course. That's exactly what I would do if I was the coach. Just that it might skew numbers a bit. 82% vs 17 or 18% is kinda freakish.
But its still early, and Kuzy missed games because of COVID so not a large sample size. I'm sure it will even out a little more.
Lavi appears to have just placed his current value at around 3 mins in the 3rd period lol....
This was addressed in an earlier post here: Speculation: - Caps General Discussion (Coaching/FAs/Cap/Lines etc) - 2021 "Season" Pt. 2
I have repeatedly criticized Laviolette's player usage this year, and given that Washington has blown lead after lead this year I don't think player usage and ice-time allocation has been a strength of his so far. To wit, he plays John Carlson, perhaps their worst defensive defenseman, way too much.
In terms of who is delivering in real terms, it's Kuznetsov and Vrana, who both enjoy the best 5v5 goal differential on the team among forwards. If your argument is they aren't delivering then I don't know what to say other than you're wrong unless you don't really care about goal differential and winning?
I mean if we're going by TOI allocation then we are to conclude that Carlson has been their best defenseman this year which uhhhh.
Makes sense, he's not exactly our top defensive centerman.... and/or he could have gotten nicked up. Or Lavi could be sending him a message, Dale Hunter to Ovi style.
Sure, lots of excuses you COULD make for an underperformer....
Play well, get ice time. Simple formula.
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