Now that the NHL Draft is over, the offseason is in full swing. So it’s a great time to step back and evaluate the professional hockey landscape for fans and for users of Virginia sports betting apps alike — and where the Washington Capitals fit within it.
For the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Capitals failed to reach the playoffs. Led by Alexander Ovechkin, the Caps have been among the most consistently aggressive teams since the Russian power forward was drafted in 2005. But with the number of fights and hits steadily dropping in the NHL since that time, is it possible that the gritty, old-school style has fallen out of favor in today’s game?
We wanted to look at how an aggressive team philosophy translates to NHL success. We used MoneyPuck.com to compile the hits per NHL team and HockeyFights.com to calculate the number of fights by each NHL team in the 2022-23 season. Then BetVirginia.com – your home for the best Virginia sportsbook promotions – combined these two stats to rank the top 10 teams by aggressiveness.
NHL’s Most Aggressive Teams Of 2022-23 NHL Season
Capitals Tied For Seventh in Aggression
By these metrics, the Washington Capitals tied with the New York Rangers for the seventh-most aggressive team last season. The Rangers fared slightly better than the Caps — making the playoffs but failing to advance past the first round. Washington had been a -160 preseason favorite to make the playoffs for customers using the BetMGM bonus code VA, according to SportsOddsHistory.com.
Among Washington’s most aggressive players, defensemen Martin Fehervary accounted for 217 of the 2,015 hits dealt out by the roster last season. The 23-year-old Slovak just signed a new three-year contract. The word around the team is that they view the promising young blueliner as a core piece of their future.
Meanwhile, wing Garnet Hathaway had the second most hits for Washington this past year. Hathaway racked up 198 checks while brandishing the red, white and blue. But on Feb. 23 he was traded to Boston for veteran forward Craig Smith and three draft picks. Hathaway added another 70 hits to the stat sheet for his new squad.
Always among the team’s top hitters, Ovechkin tallied 188 this past season to go along with his 42 goals and 33 assists.
The Washington Capitals got mixed up in the 12th most on-ice skirmishes during the 2022-23 campaign, according to HockeyFights.com data. However, it’s worth noting that five of their 24 total fights came during a two-game stretch last fall.
Very Chippy Pair of November Games
On Nov. 11 and 13, the Caps had a home-and-home series with the Tampa Bay Lightning that got particularly chippy. On Nov. 11, Washington wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel put a high hit on Tampa Bay’s Cal Foote. Then a line brawl broke out in the third period.
Best of all for Caps backers at Virginia sportsbooks, Washington won that Nov. 11 game 5-1.
Caps forward Anthony Mantha recorded a highly coveted “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” during that game against the Bolts – meaning he had a goal, assist, and a fighting major all within a single game.
The bad blood spilled over to the next game on Nov. 13, which Tampa Bay won 6-3.
As for the initial question, does aggressiveness leads to NHL success? Our results here tend to lean slightly toward a negative correlation between fights/hits and wins/losses. Of the most aggressive teams, four made the playoffs. However, the Bruins tied for ninth on our list, and they set the NHL record for most wins in a single season in 2022-23.
Caps fans bullish that their team’s aggressive style will lead them to another championship can go to Caesars Sportsbook Virginia and get +7500 odds on Washington to win the Stanley Cup in 2024.