Saturday, April 26, 2008

2007-08 Rink Wrap: Donald Brashear

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every* player who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Donald Brashear.

Contract Status: $1.2m cap hit in 2008-09; UFA after 2009-10
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 36
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 12+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 80 games played, 5 goals, 3 assists, -7, 119 PIMs
Key Stat: The top line missed a combined total of one game all season.
Surprising Stat: All eight of his points came under Bruce Boudreau, including a goal in Gabby's first game.

The Good: Brashear's leadership earned him an "A" on his sweater in 2007-08, and he celebrated by beating the living crap out of Riley Cote, Colton Orr and Chris Neil (among others) before New Year's. Despite getting a team-low ten shifts per game, Brash was fourth on the squad in hits (and, not surprisingly, led the team in hits per minute of ice time). His goal early in the first period of Game One got the playoffs off to a great start for the Caps.

The Bad: The Donald is clearly slowing down, which wouldn't be surprising for any 36-year-old, much less one who has had 210 NHL fights to his credit. He had his lowest point total since 1995-96 in his least amount of ice time per game since they started tracking the stat (a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario there), his worst plus-minus since 2001-02 (and third-worst on the team), and his lowest PIM total since 1995-96 (when he played just 20 games). Brash had four different and full months during the season in which he had one point or less, and had pointless streaks of 21, 20 and 14 games. Oh, and the triple minor in Boston certainly falls under "The Bad" (especially given his leadership role).

The Vote: Rate Brashear on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Question(s): Should the Caps have re-signed Brash for one more year (2008-09) or let him walk? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?

If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.

* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.

14 comments:

hotdog88gt said...

The Donald is who he is. 9 is about it for him. He has a role.

Jed said...

when the caps got Brash, I expected a fighter who wouldn't contribute much more than a fight from time to time. What they have gotten out of him is much more than that. He has obviously been a leader to the young players on the team, he hits like a beast, and I love watching the big guy skate around players who are much more skilled than him (especially when he faked out Brier in the playoffs this year!). I don't know what more you could ask of the guy. I wish he hadn't had that break-down against Boston, but he is a fighter and he has a guy making a run at him... that was a friggin sweet left though.

Ben said...

Brash played better than any other Capital in the playoffs. He was so money, and always made things happen out there.

Marky Narc said...

Brash's role on this team as a "glue guy" is not in question. He started out his career as merely a fighter and over time developed enough defensive skill and sense to not be a liability when he's out on the ice. You know what he's going to bring to the rink each night an he does it. I gave him a 6 simply because he performed exactly the way I expected him to when the season began.

Some people might want to dock him for taking that triple minor in Boston, but we shouldn't deduct points based on something that happened in a single game (that includes Backstrom's own goal) - because if that's the case, Joe Motzko gets a 10 based on his two goal game on Dec 12 against the Rangers. :)

Laura said...

I gave him a 5. He's really not bringing much to the table on the ice at this point. For a million bucks, we could afford a Donald and another fourth line winger.

Time to start thinking about value here, and Donald's sucking up some cap room; more than his on-ice production warrants.

I'm not in the locker room every day so I can't speak to his "leadership," but it had better be darn good otherwise I think his time in the NHL is up.

bigonetimer said...

love Brash..he has great hands, both for fighting and around the net. I gave him an 8.

Tyler said...

To the best of my knowledge, the Caps don't have a potential NHL 'enforcer' type in the system. I'd think that kind of player would be a draft-priority this summer. (Milan Lucic 2.0 would be A-OK with me.)

Hazardous said...

I gave him a 6 simply because he performed exactly the way I expected him to when the season began.

Isn't the whole point of the votes to be relative to what you expect him to be able to do (potential)? That would mean a 10, not a 6 :/

I gave him a 9. I think he had easily his best season to date in all-around performance. And that's far better than just a guy who swings his fists. I don't think he should be a priority, but I don't see any reason to let him go, either.

JP said...

The Vote: Rate Brashear on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

Tens are for the best season you could have realistically imagined (maybe a dozen goals for Brash, etc.), but if he had done exactly what you thought he would/could/should, he gets a 6.

Mike in SF said...

He had his lowest point total since 1995-96 in his least amount of ice time per game since they started tracking the stat (a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario there)

More than anything, I think it's a testament to the improvement in the team as a whole. I don't think DB was much better or worse than he was last year or the year before, but the alternatives to playing him were much improved. Who were you going to sit for DB? Steckel? Fleischmann?

Next year, I see DB's playing time dropping even more. With 11 NHL forwards under contract or RFA ahead of him on the depth chart (Ovechkin, Backstrom, Laich, Semin, Nylander, Fehr, Kozlov, Clark, Fleischmann, Steckel and Gordon); two UFAs I think they're likely to bring back (Fedorov and Bradley); and one rookie with not much left to prove in the AHL (Chris Bourque), there's already not much playing time to go around when everyone's healthy.

I see them bringing in DB when they need to make a statement or when injuries stack up. But DB already doesn't kill penalties or play on the power play; it's hard to imagine the team sitting a more skilled player very often for him next year.

Hazardous said...

Well, there's a problem there, then, JP. See, if you had super high expectations and someone didn't meet them, they get a low number even if they had a great season. The opposite being true, as well. And you could have a situation where you expect someone to suck, and they have a phenominal season, but maybe not their best ever. Then what? an 8-9?

I just don't know if personal expectations are solid enough to base a vote off of. Hell, Clark got 3s and 4s (which, normally, would mean he played like shit) but despite a short season, he played it pretty well.

I expected brashear to play very slow, and just hit things that get near him. He did that, but far more. He played pretty good stick-handling for a guy of his... stature, amongst other things. It seems playing with Ovechkin has helped his forward abilities a lot.

Also... in before everyone gives Ovechkin 10s.

JP said...

I hear you, Hazardous, but I wanted something that captured a guy's role on the team, and that's where expectations come in.

If it was straight "rate his season," AO gets a 10, Backstrom a 9, etc., and it's hard to give a guy like Bradley more than a four or five. But by including expectations, I think it allows for a guy like Laich - who exceeded expectations - to have a better score than a guy who disappointed but had better numbers (like a regular season Semin, perhaps).

Hazardous said...

Yeah, just leaves a lot of inconsistency and misleading poll numbers, to me. But I guess it doesn't matter~

Burton said...

when you got a stud like Ovechkin, you better have someone around to protect him.

I like Brash...may be a little pricey for what he brings...if he is let go, need an enforcer to replace. I hope he's back, but won't lose sleep if they replace him.