Nicholas Ob-Koppel estimation function

This text was written by him RMNB Crusher Peter Friedrich.

The Washington Capitals have had a wild season, to place it mildly. With practically $30 million in wage cap tied to some type of injured reserve in some unspecified time in the future, it was as much as the “common guys” to step up and tackle greater roles this season.

New additions to the crew like Dylan Strome, Erik Gustafsson and Sonny Milano confirmed off their abilities together with younger pups like Aliaksei Protas and Alex Alexeyev. However the one participant who I feel has had a huge effect on the Caps, however has flown underneath the radar is him Nicholas Op-Koppel.

The Capitals earned NAK waivers from Toronto on November 5 after the ahead failed to attain a single level for the Leafs in six video games. After a rocky begin to his tenure in Washington, which included a three-game suspension for a high-hit on the Lightning’s Cal Foote, NAK cemented himself, for a time, within the lineup as a high-energy puck hound who is not afraid to take some pictures—each on opposing gamers and On the internet.

Whereas his contributions do not essentially present up on the standard stat sheet — NAK has six factors (2g, 4a) in 22 video games performed with plus-minus-plus-six and 29 penalty minutes — he is the sort of participant who makes his teammates higher. The Capitals as an entire play higher when it is on the ice. And it goes past simply a watch check; Statistics from “deeper” analyzes just like the one at HockeyViz underpin his recreation.

Maybe the perfect instance of that is his affect on Lars Eller:

through Hockey Phys

When NAK and Eller are paired collectively, they play a extra accountable protection and the crew sees a major drop in anticipated objectives for the opponent. With the 2 on the ice at 5, the Caps are additionally seeing 60.1 % of shot makes an attempt in comparison with simply 51 % when Eller is away at NAK. That is precisely what you need to see from the third line of Caps and it is precisely what you get whenever you put NAK in there: quick, pushy hockey with a strong pawn-checking presence. The opposite crew merely would not have a lot possession of the puck when NAK is on the ice.

When Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson returned on January 8, NAK was one of many first gamers out of the lineup. However after a couple of video games on the sidelines, he is again. Now, Aube-Kubel was lining up alongside Dylan Strome and Alex Ovechkin on the highest row. It appeared foolish at first, however he would not look all that misplaced.

NAK’s hard-nosed hockey model pairs effectively with the Strome’s extra fluid model of play. His physicality and velocity break the ice for Ovi. It helps generate extra scoring alternatives for each Ovi and Strome. It has been two video games, however the streak has seen constructive spreads at five-for-five in each scoring possibilities (+7) and high-risk possibilities (+4).

Placing NAK’s contributions into context with the remainder of the crew, the image of a sledding hound who will do the soiled work begins on the entrance verify. It is very important a crew’s success to have gamers who can fill this function when different gamers, particularly board fighters like TJ Oshie or Nic Dowd, are injured.

Because the season progresses and Aube-Kubel turns into extra snug in Peter Laviolette’s system (take into account he bought waivers from Toronto and he is studying the system as he goes), I count on we’ll begin to see extra outcomes from NAK as effectively. He has two objectives in his final 4 matches, which might be a sign that his consolation degree with the crew plan is on the rise and that he’s beginning to construct tangible chemistry all through the squad.

If Aube-Kubel continues to impress along with his play (and placing up extra factors actually will not harm his case), the Capitals will discover themselves needing to make one other huge determination this season along with 15 extra free agent choices. they have already got.

At 26, NAK is among the youthful gamers within the beginning lineup and will have many extra years of high quality hockey forward of him. And at solely $1 million on the wage cap, he is a cut price for what he brings to the ice and might simply be hidden within the minors if his talent wears out.

You can make an argument in comparison with among the Hershey guys ready within the wings to be referred to as full time, gamers like Beck Malenstyn or Garrett Pilon, Aube-Kubel is overrated. Malenstyn and Pilon every earn about $750,000 – however you need to understand that Aube-Kubel not solely has extra common season expertise than the NHL, he additionally gained a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche final 12 months. (He additionally practically broke the cup, too.)

If the Caps need to preserve making the playoffs via the tip of Ovi’s profession, they are going to want deep gamers like NAK who’ve been there, finished that, and know what it takes to win the postseason on the highest degree.

And at underneath $2 million, the Aube-Kubel might be a type of guys.

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