NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Washington Capitals.
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Braden Holtby leads the NHL with 197 wins since 2014-15, 19 more than Pekka Rinne (178) of the Nashville Predators in second place. His 24 shutouts over that same span are tied for second with Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers, behind Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights (28). Holtby, who turns 30 on Sept. 16, has excelled at even strength, when his .926 save percentage was tied for fifth among the 15 NHL goalies who played at least 250 games since 2014-15. One area Holtby can improve is his .867 save percentage against the power play in that span, which was 12th out of the 15 goalies. The Capitals penalty kill finished 24th in the NHL last season (78.9 percent), so if that number improves this season, Holtby could again reach 40 wins, something he did in three consecutive seasons from 2014-17.
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2. Vrana's even-strength goals
Jakub Vrana quietly finished second on the Capitals with 23 even-strength goals, behind forward Alex Ovechkin's 33, and his 43 even-strength points were fifth behind Ovechkin (61), centers Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov (49 each), and forward Brett Connolly (44), who signed with the Florida Panthers on July 1. The 23-year-old forward's success was impressive because his ice time per game at even strength (12:54) was 17th on Washington. With the departure of Connolly, Vrana could see an increase in even-strength ice time, presenting an opportunity to build upon his success last season.
3. Panik's SAT
Richard Panik, who signed a four-year contract with the Capitals on July 1, was third on the Arizona Coyotes with a plus-35 shot attempts differential (SAT) last season (minimum 48 games played) and should help to improve the Capitals' minus-146 SAT, which was 18th in the NHL. Despite missing seven games last season, Panik's 13 even-strength goals were tied for second on the Coyotes with forwards Clayton Keller and Vinnie Hinostroza behind Brad Richardson's 16. Washington will rely on Panik to replace the Connolly's production last season (21 even-strength goals), and he likely will play on the Capitals' third line with center Lars Eller and forward Carl Hagelin.
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