Washington Capitals Player Grades: April 2013

The Washington Capitals first round series against the New York Rangers is off to a thunderous start, with the team from the nation’s capital taking the first two games in D.C. Washington finished off the regular season on fire, giving them momentum heading into the postseason as the third seed. The Hockey Writers grades individual player performances for the month of April below. Stay tuned for the playoff rankings at the end of Capitals’ playoff run.

Forwards:

Alex Ovechkin: The “Great Eight” was perhaps the most dominant forward in the NHL over the month of April, totaling 22 points in only 13 games. Almost half of his April production came on the power play (ten points) as he shot at a ridiculous 2.19% clip.

Grade: A

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Nicklas Backstrom: Washington’s first line center helped Ovechkin and forward Marcus Johansson improve their offense, totaling 15 assists in April along with two goals. He registered five points on the power play and continued his strong defensive play, recording a plus seven in the final month of the regular season.

Grade: A-

Mike Ribeiro: The former Dallas Star is unlikely to return to D.C. next season due to the addition of top six winger Martin Erat, but Riberio continues to produce as the playoffs heat up. He recorded ten of his 14 April points on the power play and centered the second forward line of Riberio, Troy Brouwer and Erat.

Grade: B+

Marcus Johansson: Washington’s first line winger finally hit his stride in the final month of the regular season, recording ten points in April. He led Washington with a plus eight and totaled eight points during even strength play. He’s set to become a restricted free agent this summer and could earn a raise if his production holds during the playoffs.

Grade: A-

Troy Brouwer: The former Chicago Blackhawks forward has brought solid leadership and playoff experience to Washington over the past few years, as his offensive contributions continue to rise with his new team. Brouwer recorded seven points in April, including two power play goals during 18:04 of ice time per contest.

Grade: B

Jason Chimera: After a tough start to begin the shortened season, Chimera has played a role as a bottom six forward for Washington, and posted five points in April.

Grade: B-

Eric Fehr: Washington’s grinding third line winger made some big plays for Washington down the stretch, and posted five points in April.

Grade: B-

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Mathieu Perreault: He took the spot as third line center for Washington throughout April, but managed only five points in 13 games.

Grade: C+

Martin Erat: The former Nashville Predators forward has struggled since he joined the Capitals, only managing three points in nine games thus far.

Grade: C

Jay Beagle: Washington’s fourth line center has been a strong influence on the penalty kill and has contributed a little bit of offense. He posted three points in April in 10:37 of ice time per game.

Grade: B

Matt Hendricks: He has struggled throughout the regular season and has been relegated to an average of 10:17 per game. Hendricks posted one goal in April.

Grade: C+

Defensemen:

Mike Green: With injuries aside, Washington’s best offensively skilled defenseman showed glimpses of his former self. Green registered 15 points in 13 April contests, averaging 23:53 of ice time per contest, tops on the team.

Grade: A

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Jack Hillen: After a long time out of the lineup due to injuries, Hillen provided substantial offense in the month of April. He finished second for Capitals defensemen in points with eleven, while being paired with Steve Oleksy for the beginning of the playoffs.

Grade: A

John Carlson: He touted a phenomenal plus ten in April, registering five points in the final regular season month. He was removed from his long time defensive partner Karl Alzner, and failed to register any power plays in the month.

Grade: B

Steve Oleksy: In his first year in the NHL, this steady blue liner has contributed in numerous ways, mostly by his defense and physical play. He added some offense in April as well, recording three points.

Grade: B+

Karl Alzner: A steady stay at home defenseman and penalty killer, Alzner contributed one point in 21:04 of ice time per game, but was a minus five.

Grade: B-

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Karl Alzner (Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE)

John Erskine: Paired with Oleksy on the third defensive pairing, Erskine has been a solid blue liner for the Capitals since he signed an extension with the club. He posted one point and was a plus four in April.

Grade: B

Goalies:

Braden Holtby: Washington’s first option in net played his best hockey of the season in the final month of the regular season, posting nine wins in ten games along with a stellar 2.16 goals against average and .937 save percentage.

Grade: A

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