Capitals Player Report Card: Tom Poti

Tom Poti

Stats: 21 GP, 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, -4, 8 PIM
Contract Info: $2,875,000 cap hit, signed through 2012-13
Player Card

Scoring Chance Percentage Ranking: 22/29
Defensemen: 9/10
Balanced Corsi Ranking: 21/29
Defensemen: 9/10

This might be an unpopular opinion but Tom Poti is a good not that bad of a defenseman, at least he wasn’t in 2009-10. He played tough minutes (47% OZ%) against tough competition (ranked first on the team in that category) and actually came out with a positive corsi rating and was only on-ice for 1.86 goals allowed per 60 minutes. For someone who is a second pairing defenseman, that is pretty damn good. Good enough for George McPhee to reward him with a two-year extension worth about $2.875 mil per season with still a year remaining on his current contract. Unfortunately for him and Caps fans, Poti’s strong 2009 campaign didn’t translate over into this year. He missed 3/4 of the season with injuries and he could be the odd-man out in the team’s defense corps depending on what happens in the next few weeks.

Poti played in a career low 21 games due to a nagging groin injury which some are saying could potentially end his career. At 34, he isn’t getting any younger and his play this season clearly showed that he is wearing down as a player. He played softer minutes against weaker competition and struggled badly against them (-9.3 5v5 relative corsi) and also ended up on the negative side of shots for/against per 60 minutes with a -0.8. The only positives were that he seemed to be killing penalties better than he did in previous years and had decent offensive numbers in the 21 games where he was active. He also ended up below 50% in scoring chances despite getting softer minutes…which is obviously not good at all. Corsi percentage may have been high but when factoring in his zone starts, he ended up having a -8.23, good for next to last on the team.

Poti was definitely missed when he was out. Him being out of the lineup meant having to suit up fringe NHL players like Brian Fahey and Tyler Sloan more than we would have liked and it proved to be a big problem at the end of the season when a cavalcade of injuries seemed to happen to our defense corps. Poti also has decent puck-moving skills and with him and Green out, it put a lot of weight on the shoulders of rookie John Carlson to provide offense from the blue-line. He’s important to this team…which is why his down season had a pretty big effect on the rest of the squad.

Poti’s future with the team is uncertain because the Caps already have numerous defensemen under contract for next year including him but many say the acquisition of Dennis Wideman (who is also signed for next season) makes Poti expandable, which I would agree with. McPhee picked the absolute worst time to give Poti a new contract but the cap hit isn’t that bad and I think some teams who have a severe lack of NHL talent on the blue line might offer at it. However, I know that GMGM is high on Poti so I’m not sure how likely it is that will happen. Poti gets a C- from me on the year. Would have been a D but the injuries weren’t his fault…I guess.


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