Next up on our Washington Capitals player report card series we take a look back at another player who departed mid season. Today we’ll look at Erik Gustafsson, who’s been a valuable defenseman and helped the Caps when they needed him and is now hoping to end the long playoff drought with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gustafsson came to the Caps after signing with them as a free agent. He appeared in 61 games before his trade to the Leafs scoring seven goals and adding 31 assists for 38 points. He then had four assists in nine games with the Maple Leafs prior to the playoffs.
He is the first player in NHL history to join a team at the trade deadline that he scored a hat trick against. That’s right, against the Maple Leafs the Gus Bus had a hat trick for the ages to kind of take the spotlight away from Alex Ovechkin for a bit.
His hat trick was the first hat trick recorded by a Capitals defenseman since Sergei Gonchar in 2002. He also had good advanced stats.
Among players that suited up in 61 games, Gustafsson led the Caps with a 54.28 percent Corsi For percentage. He also had a 53.74 percent Expected Goals For percentage and a 54.36 percent High Danger Chances For percentage, via Natural Stat Trick.
Gustafsson talked to the media after that hat trick which was his first, second and third career goal with the Capitals.
"“Scoring the first goal as a Cap, too, and get a hattie, that is pretty unbelievable. It’s not going to happen too often. It was a great feeling, but obviously it was a great win, too.”"
Grade A: He was only here for 61 games but Erik Gustafsson provided good offense and shutdown defense during his time with the Capitals. Good luck in the playoffs Gus.