The good people at Fear the Fin wrote about what drives success on special teams so let's take a look at how that might apply to the Senators. They found that the amount of shots, and shots attempts in particular, that a team generates on a power play is a lot more repeatable and provides better predictive value than the number of power plays converted on or the shooting percentage on the power play.
So while the Senators scored on only 15.9% of their power plays, ranking 20th, they had the fifth highest shots per 60 minutes of 5-on-4 hockey with 52.6 shots per 60 minutes. Unfortunately for Ottawa, they also had the fourth lowest 5-on-4 shooting percentage with 10.2%. Given that with the same players the number of shots are a lot more likely to repeat than the shooting percentage, is it reasonable to assume an improvement on the power play?
In 2011-2012, when both Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson were in the lineup, Ottawa had the ninth 5-on-4 highest shooting percentage in the NHL at 12.9% instead of the fourth lowest. How much of a difference does that make? If the Senators shot 12.9% instead of 10.2% in 2013, they would have scored 6 more power play goals giving them a power play conversion rate of 19.7%. That would be 12th in the NHL instead of 20.
Having said that, the 2011-2012 Senators were 16th in the NHL in shots per 60, so perhaps the Senators were compensating for a lack of talent in 2013 by attempting a lot more shots on the power play.
The Senators have enough talent on the power play with the likes of Karlsson, Spezza, Bobby Ryan to be able to pass the puck around and use the extra man rather than simply shoot the puck at net, put a man near the net and hope for the best. The addition of Ryan should hopefully evolve the Senators power play strategy past "pass it to Karlsson, screen and shoot". With a first unit including Ryan, Spezza, Karlsson, Wiercioch there is a lot to be hopeful for with regards to the club's power play.
One last reason for optimism, the Senators forwards with the most 5-on-4 ice time last year were Alfredsson and Turris. Alfredsson's 5-on-4 shooting percentage since 2007-2008 is 13.6% while Turris has a shockingly low 9.5% over his career. The players that will replace these two are Spezza with a 5-on-4 percentage of 18% since 2007-2008 and Ryan with 18.2% over his career. Kyle Turris - you have been voted off the first power play unit, goodbye!
General Sens news
- Jason Spezza talked about his rehab, Alfredsson's departure, his potential captaincy, the addition of Ryan and the Olympic snub. (Senators Extra)
- The Stéphane Da Costa signing was made official yesterday. (Ottawa Senators)
- First round pick Curtis Lazar is playing for Canada's U20 team. (Ottawa Senators)
- Third round pick Marcus Högberg had a 27-save shutout in Sweden U20's 4-0 over hockey minnows USA. (Mark Masters)
- Jason Spezza congratulated Bruce Garrioch on his hole-in-one. (Bruce Garrioch)
- Travis Yost looks at why Jared Cowen isn't deserving of the 7-year $27M deal Travis Hamonic received and that Bruce Garrioch suggested Cowen might be seeking. He feels Karl Alzner and Marco Scandella are better comparables for Cowen at this point in his career. I would have to agree with that. (Travis Yost)
General Hockey news
- Gary Bettman is denying reports that the league is planning to take over the operations of the New Jersey Devils. (The Score)
- Nikolai Antropov is leaving for the KHL. (TSN)