Washington Capitals: Evaluating Derek Roy’s Potential Role

Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

What Can Roy Bring To The Washington Capitals?

Yesterday, the Washington Capitals added one when they signed veteran free agent center Derek Roy to a professional tryout agreement. The Washington Capitals needed to add center depth for training camp and the preseason due to the uncertainty surrounding Nicklas Backstrom‘s hip injury. Roy will participate in training camp and the preseason to try to keep his NHL career going. 

In 738 career NHL games, Roy has 524 points. He has scored 189 goals and has 335 assists. He split last season between the Nashville Predators and the Edmonton Oilers. Between the two teams, he played in 72 games and had 32 points. During his career, he has had a positive even-strength CorsiFor% relative in eight of his 11 seasons, though two of those three seasons in which he didn’t have a positive CF% relative have come in the past two seasons.

MORE FROM STARS AND STICKS: Caps Sign Derek Roy

Roy gives the Washington Capitals a veteran center who can fill in on the third or fourth line. He could probably fill in on the second line and not be terrible, but at this stage in his career, he’s not a top six forward. Roy could help on both the power play and the penalty kill. 

If Roy sticks with the Washington Capitals, his likely role will be as either the third line center, fourth line center, or extra forward. He has a career face-off win percentage of 49.1%, which isn’t terrible. If the third line is going to be a sheltered forward line (as opposed to a more traditional “checking” line), Roy would be a perfect fit on that line.

With the addition of Roy, this could mean that Andre Burakovsky will see a move to left wing. That might also lead to Burakovsky moving up to the second line, since the main reason why Burakovsky was projected to be on the third line was because he was expected to play center. If he’s a left wing, that changes everything. If Burakovsky is moved up to the second line, that means Marcus Johansson will be on the third line with Roy and Tom Wilson.

Roy is best utilized in sheltered role and has success there over the past few years. The coloring represents his even-strength CF% relative. Blue is good, red is bad. The size represents his total time on ice.

CREDIT: Hockey Abstract

Roy could make an impact on the Washington Capitals if he impresses. At worst, he could provide some very valuable forward depth.