Originally written on Rock the Red  |  Last updated 5/18/12
Washington_capitals_v_aee4

As the 2011-12 season has come to a close, the time has come to evaluate what it meant for the Capitals, both as a team and as individuals.  As such, as the summer progresses, I will be writing a report card, or individual evaluation, for each player who played in 9 (~10%) of the team's games, or 4 playoff games. Next up is rough and tumble defenseman John Erskine, who completed his sixth, and most frustrating, season in the Capitals organization this year.

Season Summary: During this campaign, Erskine suffered through by far the most turbulent season in a Capitals uniform.  After being injured at the start of the year, he was in and out of the lineup for a prolonged period before finally being yanked for basically the remainder of the regular season in early February.  Overall, Erskine posted zero goals, two assists, a plus-three rating, and 51 penalty minutes in 28 games, the second fewest he has ever played at the NHL level.  Erskine also had the sixth-best even strength corsi rating among Capitals defensemen (-5.07) who played more than 20 games, and he did it against the second-easiest competition on the team. Grade: C-

Role Play: John Erskine is a guy who is on your team to hit people and clear out the front of the net.  He's not offensively gifted, he's not a shot blocker.  He's a low-end sixth defenseman/healthy scratch.  That's what he was this year.  When Erskine was in the lineup, he was physical, he was mean, and he was tough.  He cleared people out in front of the net and he hit people.  But that's what is expected of him, and it's not particularly valuable to this team, or any team, really.  Nevertheless, he did what many people pegged him for heading in to this season, which was, quite frankly, not much. Grade: C+

Playoffs: Erskine saw action in four playoff games, compiling a single assist, a minus-one rating, and zero penalty minutes.  He also had the second worst corsi rating (-21.35) at even strength, but this time, he did it against the toughest competition among Capitals defensemen.  I thought Erskine's playoffs were not that bad, all things considered, but his insertion into the lineup, it seemed, was almost always a reactionary move.  He was big and physical against big and physical teams, so I don't slight him for that.  But the fact remains that he simply isn't a very good defenseman, particularly in Hunter's system because of his lack of shot blocking skills. Grade: C

Future Potential: Erskine has one more year left on his contract at a minimal salary cap hit of $1.5 million.  That's not a ton, but it's not even close to ideal for a defenseman who plays fewer than 30 games.  With the uncertainty surrounding Dennis Wideman, Mike Green, and John Carlson, who are all free agents in some capacity this offseason, I expect Erskine to stick around.  If (when) Wideman leaves via unrestricted free agency, and Green and Carlson stay put as restricted free agents, as I expect them to, that would leave one lineup spot, which I would hope would be filled with Dmitry Orlov, meaning Erskine would be the 7th defenseman once more.  For someone who will be 32 at the end of June, Erskine's career arc is firmly trending downward.  Don't expect much from him this year or in any years after that.  Grade: D+

The next report card will feature center Cody Eakin.

As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs ace Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release two-time Pro Bowl CB Tim Jennings

Indians president Mark Shapiro jumps to same role in Toronto

Tom Coughlin: Victor Cruz not expected to practice this week

Report: Redskins ownership won't let coaches bail on RG3

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

D'Angelo Russell: 'There's a lot of spoiled Lakers fans'

Terry Collins didn't challenge double out of fear of HR

Has Tim Lincecum thrown his last pitch for the Giants?

Jerry Jones is enthralled with ‘vintage’ Darren McFadden

Report: Three NFL head coaches were interested in Michigan job

Odell Beckham Jr. is not intimidated of Darrelle Revis

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

U.S. Open women's preview: Can anyone stop Serena?

Buffalo Bills need to start Tyrod Taylor at quarterback

WATCH: Broncos defender drops Reggie Bush, skirmish ensues

U.S. Open men's preview: Will there be a surprise champion?

Big Papi crushes Syndergaard pitch for 494th homer

Virginia Tech honoring slain journalists with helmet stickers

AJ Green on contract: 'All the receivers are getting bank'

Clippers owner rejects $60 million annual TV rights deal

Saints thank residents of New Orleans on 10th Katrina anniversary

Fan delivers In-N-Out Burger to Tyler Seguin during game

A tribute to 76ers legend Darryl Dawkins

Five teams with the best NBA schedule in 2015-2016

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release Tim Jennings

U.S. Open men's preview

U.S. Open women's preview

D'Angelo Russell zings Lakers fans

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker