Washington Capitals Player Grades: February 2013

The Washington Capitals (7-11-1) had their ups and downs through the month of February, but got back into the Southeast Division race. They entered March trailing the Carolina Hurricanes by only six points, giving Capitals’ fans a glimmer of hope for the remainder of the season. However, they hold the second to worst record points wise with 17, only ahead of the league worst Columbus Blue Jackets by two points. The Hockey Writers grades Washington’s player performances from February below.

Forwards:

Mike Ribeiro: The former Dallas Stars forward and impending unrestricted free agent totaled 14 points in Washington’s 12 February contests, registering five goals and nine assists. He earned 18:21 minutes of ice time in the month, but held a minus five even with his outstanding offensive numbers.

Grade: A-

Alex Ovechkin: The Capitals’ face of the franchise averaged a point per game in February, with 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in 12 games. But, only five of his points came during even strength play. He registered a minus four to go with 10.2 shooting percentage.

Grade: B+

Nicklas Backstrom: The Capitals top two way forward recorded two goals and nine assists in 12 February matchups, but only registered 23 shots on goal. He totaled five helpers on the Capitals’ improving power play.

Grade: B-

Troy Brouwer: The former Chicago Blackhawk tied Ovechkin for February goals with six to go with four assists in 12 games. He totaled seven points on the man advantage, along with an outstanding shooting clip of 20.7%.

Grade: B

Eric Fehr: This power forward returned to Washington on a one year deal prior to the beginning of the season and has provided to be a good signing by General Manager George McPhee. Fehr had quite a month of February, totaling seven points in 12 contests, while averaging 12:08 minute of ice time in an increased role. He also added a shorthanded goal against the New Jersey Devils.

Photo by Caps in Pictures

Photo by Caps in Pictures

Grade: A-

Joel Ward: Following a hot start to the shortened season, Ward continued his strong play. He registered seven points in 12 games, playing on a line with Mathieu Perreault and Eric Fehr for the most part.

Grade: B+

Mathieu Perreault: Although an undersized forward, the longtime product of the Washington Capitals organization posted seven goals in only eight games in February. He averaged 13:01 minutes of ice time during the second month of the season, scoring at a 20% shooting clip.

Grade: A

Wojtek Wolski: The forward product of numerous NHL teams signed a one year deal with Washington this summer in hopes of finding his offensive game again, but he has certainly disappointed this season. Wolski posted only two points in 12 February contests, but received 14:54 minutes of ice time even though he struggled mightily.

Grade: D

Wojtek Wolski (Photo Credit:  Andy Martin Jr)

Wojtek Wolski (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

Jason Chimera: Washington’s gritty forward totaled two points in 12 games, along with a team worst minus seven. He failed to find the back of the net with his 22 shots on goal.

Grade: D+

Matt Hendricks: The Capitals’ enforcer totaled two points in February, along with a team high 21 penalty minutes. He averaged 11:58 minutes of ice time in the second month of the season.

Grade: B-

Jay Beagle: Washington’s fourth line center and penalty kill specialist contributing two points in February, to go with his 14 shots on goal. He’s returned to his role of the past, following Adam Oates experiment with Beagle on a line with Joey Crabb and Captain Alex Ovechkin.

Grade: B

Joey Crabb: The former Toronto Maple Leaf failed to register a point in 12 February contests, but only had six shots on goal.

Grade: C+

Defensemen:

John Carlson: With the absence of fellow offensively skilled defenseman Mike Green, Carlson stepped up big time on the Capitals’ blue line. He totaled three goals and four assists in Washington’s 12 February contests in 22:52 minutes of ice time per game.

Grade: A-

Tomas Kundratek: Washington’s youngest defenseman on the team netted five assists in February, including three assists on the power play. He appears to be a lock on the Capitals’ defense for the remainder of the regular season.

Grade: B

Mike Green: Washington’s highest paid defensemen missed three games in February, but totaled four points in nine games. He must increase his offensive production and become a mentor for young defenseman Tomas Kundratek.

Grade: B+

(Tom Turk/THW)

(Tom Turk/THW)

Jeff Schultz: Schultz recorded three assists in ten February games to go with a minus two in 13:36 minutes of ice time. His defensive game is needed on the backend of the Capitals’ defense.

Grade: B-

Karl Alzner: Washington’s top defensive presence tallied one goal in February, and also average 21 minutes of ice time. He’s played solid following his separation from longtime defensive partner John Carlson.

Grade: A-

John Erskine: Washington’s newly extended defenseman has earned a top four role on Washington’s blue line, contributing a goal and plus three in February. Expect Erskine on the backend of the Capitals’ defense next season following a few additions on the blue line.

Grade: B+

Tom Poti: A surprise at training camp, Poti has made an impact on the Capitals’ defense, earning playing time over NHL veteran Roman Hamrlik. He totaled an assist and recorded a minus one in seven February contests.

Grade: B-

Goalies:

Braden Holtby: Holtby grabbed the starting goalie spot in Washington during the month of February, playing in 11 games. He posted a 2.90 goals against average and .907 save percentage along with two shutouts.

Grade: B

Braden Holtby - Washington Capitals

(Tom Turk/THW)

Michal Neuvirth: With Holtby grabbing the stranglehold of the starting goalie position, Neuvirth only played in two games in February. He registered a 3.28 goals against average and .844 save percentage in 91:21 minutes between the pipes.

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

Matthew Speck

Matthew Speck

Matthew Speck covers the Washington Capitals organization for The Hockey Writers. He's credentialed for Washington's AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, and covers most home games. Matthew also covers high school sports for the Lebanon Daily News. You can email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.
Matthew Speck

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