This final quarter followed the pattern of the previous three as the Senators gave up a league worst 258 goals in 76 games averaging out to 3.39, while the shots obviously followed suit with a mind blowing 34.70 average a night. Those are just some crazy numbers and yet the team finished with a .500 record! Penalty Kill wasn't something to brag about either ending at 81.1% which was good (?) for 24th position out of 30 teams.
This is a second part in a two-part review of the Senators 4th quarter grades with the first featuring the offense posted here.
Enough with the small talk, let's get to the meat and potatoes of the defense, or lack of, as well as the goaltending situation featuring the trio that took over once Andrew Hammond departed up top for Ottawa.
#2 Troy Rutkowski - C- Got some ice time for the better part of the final quarter for the first time in nearly two seasons as he's projected to be in Binghamton next season. Big guy and has improved but still lacks grit and force with the physical play.
#3 Fredrik Claesson - A The best defensive defenseman the club carries and that's no knock on the third year pro. Likes the physical play and can deliver some Boro-esque type of hits on occasion. Not flashy and still young as the final quarter was right on line with the previous three. Will get the nod up top if re-signed, guaranteed.
#4 Mike Sdao - C+ Excellent fighter, bar none. Could beat Yabo in his prime no doubt about it. Defensive work remains a project and careless penalties is killing his potential. Great individual off the ice and team leader with Man of the Year honors awarded to him for his work in the community.
#6 Chris Wideman - A+ Yup.
#7 Guillaume Lepine - B- Good energy player and can throw with the best of them. Another big guy and decent legs covering man on man coverage. Wouldn't mind his return at all if offered a full time contract as he was on a PTO for the most part.
#20 Alex Grant - C- Alex, Alex Alex. What to do, what to do..great shot from the point, gives his all with passion, willingness to stick up for his teammates and engage in some fisticuffs. Better fourth quarter and willing to throw the dice and gamble for his return. Just needs to dial down on the turnovers, which at times were appalling.
#72 Aaron Johnson - D Nope. Needs to hang it up and turn his efforts into coaching because he will make one helluva coach someday. Just too many mentions of his play leaning to the negative side on the ice and I'm not going to go there and leave it at that.
INC. - Patrick Mullen (inj)
#31 Peter Mannino - C- Ugh. Was really hoping to see the old Mannino that beat this club in last season's first round of the playoffs when he suited up for WB/Scranton Penguins. Just didn't impress, even with the fancy showboating with his glove save landing on his behind in each contest he suited up for. Good for highlight's though.
#33 Chris Driedger - B+ Shows promise. Really sound positionally squaring up to the shooters and has quick reflexes, while demonstrating he's a butterfly goaltender at times. Average glove and needs to control his rebounds. Look forward to him getting some Rick Wamsley love next season that did previous wonders for Hammond.
#35 Scott Greenham - B- Team played their best hockey in front of Greeny. Not the most gifted netminder there is but certainly has the ability to get the job done. Good bounce back quarter after his demotion to the ECHL follow the signing of Mannino. Himself and Driedger as the one-two tandem for Bingo next season is certainly plausible in my book.
Up next we'll take a peek at who's who in needs to be retained playing for Binghamton next season as there is a pretty massive amount of RFA/UFA's currently on the list.
*Cover Pic & Insert Courtesy of Alicia Strauch