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!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Report Card: Tom Poti

Poti (left) struggled with injuries again this season.
Today I give you the third 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 puck-moving defenseman Tom Poti, who completed his fourth campaign with the Capitals this season.

Stats/Season Summary: For the second season out of the last three, Poti was victimized by a chronic groin injury that limited him to only 21 games, as he spent the majority of the campaign on injured reserve.  In those 21 games, however, Poti was his typical solid self, registering two goals and five assists to go along with 8 penalty minutes.  He did have a -4 rating, but I am willing to grant him a mulligan in that department as he spent most of his healthy minutes skating on a pairing with Tyler Sloan.  Poti played his last game on January 12, and though he was skating for the last two months of the year, never got over that final hump. Grade: B-
Role Play: As I said in his season summary, when healthy, Poti was exactly what the Capitals signed him for.  He was reliable in his own end, moved the puck well on the power play and at even strength, and was able to effectively kill penalties on the first unit before John Carlson and Karl Alzner took over those roles.  Poti was an alternate captain when he was healthy as well, as he took on a bigger part in the team's leadership than in years past. When he was healthy, he was great, and he did what he was supposed to do. Grade: B
Playoffs: Poti, unfortunately, was not able to get healthy in time to come back for the playoffs, but it is doubtful that even if he had been healthy, he would have played much barring injury in the first round.  The Caps could have definitely used him in the second round, however. Grade: N/A
Future Potential: The Capitals extended Poti's original 4-year, $13 million contract, which was set to expire this summer, this past September with a 2-year, $5.75 million add-on, which now, in retrospect looks like a poor decision.  His groin injury is very serious, however, and George McPhee said at his end of year press conference that the team is very worried about him and that this injury could end his career.  With the acquisition of Dennis Wideman, who should be healthy in the fall, and the likely departure of free agent Scott Hannan this offseason, it looks like Poti will battle with John Erskine for the sixth defense spot on a nightly basis (providing the Caps re-sign RFA Karl Alzner).  That's a big if in terms of health, however. Grade: C

The fourth report card of the year will be posted on May 10th, and will feature center/right wing Jay Beagle.

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