Washington Capitals Player Report Card: Matt Bradley

Matt Bradley

Stats: 61 GP, 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points, -3, 68 PIM
Contract Info: $1,000,000 cap hit, pending UFA
Player Card

Scoring Chance Ranking: 23/29
Forwards: 14/19
Balanced Corsi Ranking: 22/29
Forwards: 15/19

Bradley’s always been a great “team guy” for the Caps. Whether he’s sticking up for his teammates, scoring timely and uplifting goals in the playoffs or delivering big hits, he’s always been a favorite in the locker room and for a lot of Caps fans. Which is why I think a lot of people are going to be sad in a few weeks when he becomes an unrestricted free agent because it’s looking like his time in Washington is up. They may start to calm down once they see what Bradley did this season, which wasn’t much at all.

After a strong 2009-10 campaign where he recorded career highs in goals and assists, Bradley came crashing down to earth this season in terms of offensive production. That was to be expected because he performed a little over his head last season and if you look at his player card above, you’ll see that there’s a lot of similarities between this season and Bradley in 2008-09. He put up the same amount of points then, had a negative corsi rating and finished less of his shifts in the offensive zone than he started. You’ll also see some key differences, one of which is that he was on-ice for more goals against but less shots allowed and against tougher competition.

So was this year a disappointment for Bradley or more of him just returning to his usual self? I think it’s a little of both. Fourth liners should be depending on for a few things in my opinion; defense, penalty killing and grit/toughness. Bradley fits mostly the last one. I don’t think his defensive instincts are that good and he didn’t do much penalty killing this year either but he was fourth on the team in hits with 161 and he was always one of the first players to stick up for his mates. He had 10 fights this year and his most famous action this season was blowing up Matt Cooke in retribution for his hit on Alex Ovechkin earlier in the year.

The addition of Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle getting more playing time sort of diminished Bradley’s role a bit. Hendricks is a fighter but he can kill penalties and unlike Bradley, he can play every forward position. Beagle can also kill penalties, which was something that Bradley didn’t do this year and he costs less than him. Bradley’s a great team player and you need guys like that on the roster, obviously but is he worth bringing back at $1 just to be a fourth liner with not much upside other than being physical? I don’t think so. Sorry Brads, it was nice having you on the team for the last six years, though. I’m not going to let last season effect my grade for him this year because that was clearly an aberration for him so I’ll give him a C- on the season for doing what he usually does, which isn’t a lot.

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