Sunday, April 26, 2020

Peerless Playback: The All-Alphabet Team, "The G Team"

We have taken a look back at the Teams “A” through “F” on our look back at the Washington Capitals’ “All Alphabet Team,” and if we remember our A-B-C’s, that brings us to the letter “G.”

Back in 2014, our "All-G Team" was:  
  • LW: Stan Gilbertson (1974-1976)
  • C: Bengt-Åke Gustafsson (1979-1986; 1987-1988)
  • RW: Mike Gartner (1979-1989)
  • D: Sergei Gonchar (1995-2004)
  • D: Mike Green (2005-2015)
  • G: Philipp Grubauer (2013-2018)

If there were some unremarkable teams among the A-F squads, the “All-G Team” published in 2014 does not suffer that problem.  The “All-G Team” includes some of the highest ranked players across statistical categories in team history:
  • Mike Gartner: goals (third/397), points (fourth/ 789), power play goals (third/98), shorthanded goals (T-fifth/12), game-winning goals (third/54), shots on goal (third/2841)
  • Bengt-Åke Gustafsson: goals (seventh/196), points (seventh/554), shorthanded goals (T-second/17), game-winning goals (fifth/33)
  • Sergei Gonchar (among defensemen): goals (second/144), points (fifth/416), power play goals (first/53), game-winning goals (fourth/19), shooting percentage (second/8.9; minimum: 100 shots)
  • Mike Green (among defensemen): goals (T-third/113), points (sixth/360), power play goals (second/52), overtime goals (first/8), game-winning goals (third/20), shooting percentage (fourth/8.3; minimum: 100 shots)

Compare these four players with those whose last names begin with the letter “G” playing for the Caps since the 2014 team was published:
  • Stan Galiev (RW)
  • Shane Gersich (LW)
  • Tim Gleason (D)
  • Curtis Glencross (LW)
  • Tyler Graovac (C)
  • Radko Gudas (D)

None of these players will replace any of the four listed above.  But what of Stan Gilbertson at left wing?  Would Shane Gersich or Curtis Glencross be suitable replacements?

Gilbertson was a reasonably productive player in 56 games over two seasons with the Caps, posting a scoring line of 24-21-45 for a couple of historically bad teams.  Not only would neither Gersich nor Glencross have merit as a replacement, the six players listed above having dressed since the summer of 2014 have combined for a scoring line of 7-22-29 in 132 games.  The skaters from the 2014 “All-G Team” would remain intact.

In goal, Philipp Grubauer was selected to the “All-G Team” in 2014 despite having appeared in only 19 games with the Caps at the time and a record of 6-6-5 (two no-decisions), 2.48, .924.  Since the summer of 2014, he is the only one of five goalies dressing for the Caps whose name includes a “G,” let alone being the only one whose last name starts with that letter.  More to the point, Grubauer only strengthened his hold on the position on the “All-G Team,” going 37-25-6, 2.24, .923, with six shutouts in 82 games.  By the time he left the club after the 2017-2018 season for Colorado, he was top-ten in team history in wins by a goalie (tenth/43), goals against average (first/2.29; minimum: 1,000 minutes), save percentage (first/.923; minimum: 1,000 minutes), and shutouts (T-eighth/6).

The 2014 version of the “All-G Team” is a formidable group.  The five skaters combined for 873 goals and 2,164 points in 2,672 man-games in the regular season and had 47 goals with 137 points in 201 man-games in the postseason with the Caps.  Philipp Grubauer was – and remains – one of the most effective goaltenders in Caps history when one remembers he played in barely 100 games for the club (101).  It is a squad that will remain intact, at least for now.