Last week, we broached the question of what team would be a better fit for Ovechkin than the Capitals? After a heated discussion we decided to let NHL 14 for the XBox do the work for us – after updating all of the rosters, we picked 11 teams to put Ovechkin in, and see where he would fair better.
In the previous article, we simulated Ovechkin on the Bruins, Blackhawks and Red Wings. You can read that article here.
We had 3 contrasting results there. For the Boston Bruins, Ovechkin didn’t seem to fit in at all. While he had a solid season, it came at the expense of the team chemistry and balance. He won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks, but it was one of those things where with or without him, they probably would have did the business. He had the biggest impact at the Red Wings, where with Zetterberg and Dastsyuk the three ran riot over the NHL during the regular season. Sadly they were sweeped by the Bruins in the first round of the cup – but of the three, that’s where Ovechkin fit in the best.
This time out, we are going to do the following teams:
- Los Angeles Kings
- New York Rangers
- San Jose Sharks
- Tampa Bay Lightning
Then in our final article, we will do the three Canadian teams(Oilers, Canadiens, Leafs) as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hey we have to save the most interesting for last, right?
Los Angeles Kings: The team that won the Stanley Cup the previous season – and then they pick up Ovechkin. This was going to be very interesting….except it didn’t work out good at all. While the Kings made the playoffs, they scraped in after a 7th place Conference finish, 4th place in their division and 13th in the league. Yikes.
Ovechkin got just 29 goals, his 2nd lowest tally out of all the teams we simulated. He made up for it with 52 assists, the 2nd most assists he had, for a points total of 81. His +/9 was just +2, the 2nd lowest he would have, and he had 8 PPG and 2 game winning goals. He also had 275 shots, the 2nd lowest.
Clearly, Ovechkin is a bad fit for the Kings. A bad, bad fit. They just don’t complement his play style, as he was used a lot less in terms of shooting, and a lot more in terms of creativity.
In the playoffs, the Kings surprisingly destroyed the Blackhawks 4-2, and then the Predators 4-1. They were 3-0 down to the Coyotes, got it back to 3-3 and then lost the big Game 7. Ovechkin was not creative at all during the playoffs with just 1 assist, and 5 goals.
New York Rangers: Last years Stanley Cup finalists – was Ovechkin just what they needed to get their hands on that elusive 5th Stanley Cup? Based on the regular season – yes! The Rangers had a great record of 55-22-5, and they came 1st in the conference, 1st in the division and 1st in the league. Wow! The Rangers dominated the league like almost no other team with Ovechkin in their lineup.
From a stats perspective, Ovechkin got 84 points, the 2nd highestt(he got 85 with the Blackhawks), 41 goals and 43 assists. He had a +30, but where he really excelled was on the power play. 16 goals, the highest by far(next highest was 11), with 3 short handed goals and 12 game winner goals. 350 shots, the most he had in all of the simulations. Clearly the Rangers worked well with Ovechkin, and he managed to hit a great balance in the team. St Louis also had a great year, with 75 points.
In the playoffs? They went against the Pittsburgh Penguins and went down 3-0. Then they pulled it back to 3-3, and Ovechkin racked up 2 goals and 7 assists in that period. Unfortunately he was completely absent in Game 7, as the Rangers lost 2-0.
Summary: Despite a struggle in the playoffs, Ovechkin clearly complemented the Rangers. A tough first draw in the playoffs for sure but their fight back was impressive. Their regular season was just incredible.
San Jose Sharks: This was a very disappointing one, as the Sharks didn’t even make the playoffs. At one point they were on a 12 game losing streak. They came 10th in the conference, 5th in their division and 19th in the league.
Ovechkin got just 27 goals – the 2nd lowest for him. Usually when he scores a low amount he is high on assists but he had just 37 assists – the lowest assists he recorded. This also meant that throughout the simulations, he had the lowest point total at 64 points. Every other point total(bar one) was in the 75-85 pt range, so that says a lot. He had a +9, with 9 powerplay goals, but no shorthanded or game winning goals.
Summary: San Jose fans would prefer to see Sharknado 3 starring French Stewart, than see Ovechkin on the Sharks.
Tampa Bay Lightning: We were very excited about this one. Stamkos and Ovechkin on the same team? Hell yeah.
Or hell no.
Lightning didn’t make the playoffs. They came 13th in the conference, 7th in their division and 25th in the league – the second worst position recorded in these simulations. Just an abysmal performance – but Ovechkin didn’t have that bad a season. Actually, he had a GREAT season really.
He had 31 goals, 48 assists(3rd highest in the simulations), for 79 points. He had a +29, with 8 powerplay goals and 8 game winning goals. What was interesting was he had only 245 shots, the lowest by far. The next lowest was 278.
Stamkos also had a great season, with 32 goals, 47 assists, and 79 points as well.
Summary: A fascinating season, really and one where I’d love to go back and look at it in more detail. Ovechkin and Stamkos working together were terrific, but the rest of the team didn’t perform, and that’s what cost them.
Alright – we’ll take a break for now. Next time we’ll wrap it up, with Ovechkin on the Habs, Leafs, Oilers and of course the Pittsburgh Penguins. Should be a good time.