Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Report Card: Matt Bradley

Bradley stares into the soul of some hapless Penguin.
Today I give you the eleventh installment in my "Report Card" series, as I continue my evaluation of each Capital through this past regular season and playoffs.  Today's player is hard-nosed winger Matt "The Professor" Bradley, who finished his fifth season in the organization this past year.
Stats/Season Summary: Like all of his fourth-line mates, Bradley had a predictably slow year.  Brads suited up for 61 games this year and tallied 4 goals, 7 assists, a -3 rating and 68 penalty minutes.  The right winger suffered a broken finger in December and missed the Winter Classic, but other than that did not miss any games due to injury (he was only a healthy scratch once).  When he was healthy however, Bradley was his typical self: an energy and role player with a little bit of offensive punch, some forechecking ability, and the skill to bleed epically while sticking up for his teammates.  He did struggle in his own zone at times, though, often in an obvious manner, which is why his ice time diminish as the season wore on. Grade: B-
Role Play: Bradley struggled at times in the defensive zone, which was a hamper on his overall effectiveness, but otherwise he did a good job of filling the "prototypical" fourth line role.  He was a good forechecker, he was physical, he killed penalties a bit, he fought, and he scored some goals.  Bradley was also a good veteran leader, earning an "A" a few nights from Bruce Boudreau and it is widely believed that he was and is a force in the locker room.  He did what was expected of him, for the most part. Grade: B-
Playoffs: As solid as Bradley was in the regular season, he was brutal in the playoffs.  He played in all nine games, but did not record a point and had a -3 rating to go along with four PIMs.  The fourth line as a whole struggled, so I give him a bit of a pass, but players like Brads have to step up bigtime in the playoffs for teams to go far. He did not. Grade: C-
Future Potential: Bradley is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and I do not see DC re-signing him unless he takes a pay cut.  He is a valuable player for sure because he knows the team and the system and people like him, but he is not irreplaceable like a Brooks Laich.  I like him and I hope Washington brings him back, and the issue here would be purely money-based, not performance-based. He will latch on somewhere because he's only 33, and be his usual self, it's just a question of where. Grade: C
Here's some video of one of the worst calls I've ever seen.  Complete with the professor taking roll call.

The next Report Card will be posted on May 20, and will feature center Boyd Gordon.

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