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Silver Nuggets: The 2015-16 Powerplay

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Does Cody Ceci get PP2 time this year? or is Erik Karlsson going to play right-side on both units?
Does Cody Ceci get PP2 time this year? or is Erik Karlsson going to play right-side on both units?
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, I wrote a tactical post about powerplay formations and how the Senators like to utilize the 'hybrid' formation depending on who's on the ice, as it allows Erik Karlsson to basically do what he wants.

One of the things I was worried about when the Senators changed coaches was that David Cameron might do things differently. It was a huge topic this season, mainly due to a porous, unlucky run where the Senators failed to score mid-season and ended up causing a lot of overthinking on the coaches end. The personnel is likely to be the same this year, with the only change being a freed-up spot due to David Legwand's departure.

Here's a list of players who played 50+ minutes on the powerplay for the Senators last season, sorted by P/60, with David Legwand removed. All statistics are from Hockey Analysis.

Player

TOI

G

A

P

Sh%

P/60

CF/60

Michalek

131:01

5

5

10

22.73

4.58

100.3

Stone

188:12

5

8

13

16.13

4.14

105.8

Karlsson

378.03

6

20

26

6.67

4.13

106.5

Turris

238:47

3

13

16

7.50

4.02

109.3

Ryan

229:21

5

8

13

10.00

3.40

96.5

MacArthur

178:50

5

4

9

13.51

3.02

109.0

Zibanejad

201:15

2

8

10

7.14

2.98

98.1

Ceci

81:32

1

3

4

5.56

2.94

88.3

Chiasson

142:34

3

3

6

14.29

2.53

99.7

Wiercioch

134:10

1

4

5

4.76

2.24

97.9

Hoffman

134:42

1

2

3

5.56

1.34

95.3

Michalek, who was the most productive Senator on the powerplay last season by P/60, also had the highest shooting percentage of 22.73%, though the Senators generated a decent amount of shot attempts (CF60) when he was on the ice. On the other end, Wiercioch, Hoffman, and Ceci were plagued by poor shooting percentages in their minimal ice-time during the powerplay, and the team likely expects a lot from three players whose offensive games have been lauded since they've been in the organization.

When considering how you'd line the players up, it's also important to consider tactics. As alluded to earlier, Dave Cameron was pretty experimental and was happy to have four forwards play with Erik Karlsson, especially in late game situations. Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, and Mika Zibanejad have all played that "left point" role before, and it's very possible for Turris/Zibanejad to take the draw and then rotate upwards to left-point when the Senators regain control of the puck.

Here's how I would line up the two units - please submit yours in the comments!

First question: why isn't Karlsson on both pairings? I think that it'll ALWAYS be an option to play Karlsson for the full two minutes, and we've seen that he's more than capable of it, but I'd like to see how the Senators do without the overuse on Karlsson. This is hard to track, but I definitely recall a number of times when the Sens PP would be extremely predictable during the season by ALWAYS going through Karlsson. This makes it easier for the penalty killers to read the formation and react accordingly, and puts a lot more pressure on Karlsson to get his shot through. Also, wouldn't it be nice for Wiercioch - Ceci, two younger, offensive D, to have the chance to produce - which they may - and if they don't, you surprise the penalty killers with the more dynamic Karlsson during a line change?

Second, I kept the first line together due to chemistry, as both MacArthur and Turris can shoot the puck well and Stone enjoys the net front role. All Hoffman and Karlsson have to do is manuever their way to get the puck through, and I have faith in Hoffman's ability to generate shots, even if his CF60 last year didn't show it.

Third, unit two would have Bobby Ryan on the left side of the net so he can try his "jam-in" play or try a net-front pass to a streaking Chiasson or Ceci on the right side (a visual of this can be seen in the article linked at the beginning). As discussed in my piece on Alex Chiasson a couple of weeks ago, I think there's definitely a chance for him to be productive here, and would give him an increased role on special teams to mitigate his likely fourth line ice-time. Putting Chiasson's big body in front of the net utilizes his strengths: size, and quick hands, and gives the player an opportunity to succeed. The issue for this unit might be zone entries, with Zibanejad as the main forward carrier due to the slower footspeed of Ryan and Chiasson, but Ceci showed a tendency to jump-up last year, so here's a potential area for him to use that skill.

What do you think?

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Sens Links

  • The news everyone is talking about: Mike Hoffman is asking for $3.4M in arbitration, whereas the Senators countered with $1.7M. Expect to see something in the one-year, $2.5M range if they split it down the middle - a steal if Hoffman can put up 20 goals again. Nichols touches on the possibility that the two parties may settle before Thursday's hearing. [Silver Seven6th SensSensChirp]
  • Meanwhile, the arbitrator waited way more than 48 hours to award Alex Chiasson $1.2M on Sunday. Linked from S7 is our discussion thread, but also an article from Ross that breaks down the somewhat sad, somewhat funny Chiasson arbitration coverage. At the end, there's a TSN1200 radio interview with Chiasson's comments on the whole process that I found interesting. [Silver Seven Discussion ThreadSilver Seven6th SensOttawa CitizenSensChirpSenShotTSN1200]
  • When contracts are being negotiated, are you usually on the players side? Or do you want the best deal for the team? Ross explores this question. [Silver Seven]
  • Trevor checks-in with the other Atlantic Division teams. Some have had tumultuous offseasons (Boston) whereas some have been quiet (Tampa, Florida). [SenShot]
  • SensTV have been posting clips from the exit interviews post-Dev camp! They're a pretty interesting watch. [Ottawa Senators - JarosAhlLindberg]
  • For some more offseason content from the Senators, check out their 'Summer 7' series that asks 7 questions to Sens prospects! [Ottawa Senators - McCormickPaul]
  • Speaking of prospects, there are a number competing for spots with the big club! Jack takes a look at 6 players whose status are up in the air heading into training camp. [SenShot]
Hockey Links
  • Lots of stuff happening this morning! Brandon Sutter is now a Canuck, and Nick Bonino + others are now Penguins! Coupled with the recent signing of Eric Fehr, the Penguins are going to be a lot stronger this season. [CanucksArmy]
  • A new tool to try and quantify individual player value while simultaneously accounting for teammates. [Don't Tell Me About Heart]
  • A fantastic post by Eli Rassi on Corey Crawford's positioning. Learnt a lot while reading this analysis. [InGoalMag]