As the offseason begins, we’ll take a player-by-player look at the year that was for the Washington Capitals.
Ht: 6-4 / Wt: 204
NHL seasons: 2
2010-11 Regular season stats: 33 GP, 1g, 5a, minus-6, 14 pims.
Playoff stats: 0 GP
Contract status: $700,000 in 2010-11, $700,000 in 2011-12.
The year that was: It was another season of waiting for opportunities for Tyler Sloan, and his task of being prepared at any moment was sidetracked several times during the year by untimely injuries. Sloan was hindered by groin and hip flexor problems at various points throughout the season. While filling in on the depleted blue line on April 2, Sloan was unable to finish the game after having his “bell rung” on a hit.
The time Sloan missed after taking the hit to the head against Buffalo that day didn’t result in Sean Collins being recalled from Hershey – he was already with Washington at the time – but it may have provided an opening for him to at least temporarily pass Sloan on the depth chart. With defensive injuries continuing to mount for the Capitals in the playoffs, it was Collins who earned a sweater in the final contest of the season, Game 4 against Tampa Bay, when Mike Green was out with a hip flexor injury.
Of defenseman who played at least 20 games with the Capitals in the regular season, Sloan finished with the second-highest goals-against per 60 minutes of even strength play at 2.49. Only Tom Poti, who played parts of just 21 contests, was on ice for more at 3.05. He also had the lowest on-ice Corsi rating of that same group at –12.75.
Granted, Sloan saw action after long stretches of inactivity (as many as 16 games at one point), some prompted by his injury. The Calgary native has acknowledged how difficult it can be to play well once he’s inserted into the lineup after he’s been out for a prolonged period of time, but that is the role he’s in.
Looking ahead: For the time being, it appears as though Sloan will remain in his spot role with the Capitals. Depending on the combination of blueliners General Manager George McPhee brings into the fold for training camp and the start of next season, there is room for that to change, but Sloan will likely stay outside of the top six on the depth chart when all of the team’s defenseman are healthy.