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Silver Nuggets: The 2015-16 Penalty Kill

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Things I learned today: 1) Cody Ceci plays a lot on the PK, 2) Cody Ceci uses a long stick.
Things I learned today: 1) Cody Ceci plays a lot on the PK, 2) Cody Ceci uses a long stick.
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we examined who the Sens could trot out for their 2015-16 powerplay opportunities. It was an easier decision -- David Legwand is the only subtraction from the forward group -- but the penalty kill looks to be a much different story. Gone are the Sens second, third, and fifth ranked players in terms of TOI on the PK. How big of a loss are these players?

Sens PK

[Note: TOI + player CA60 was taken from Hockey Analysis. Average CA60 was taken from this Travis Yost article that looked at the excellent 2014-15 Winnipeg Jets PK. Average goaltender PKSV% was taken from this article by Left Wing Lock, where it was noted that PKSV% post-lockout II averaged around 0.875]

I've colour-coded the players who prevented shot attempts against (CA60) better than league average in green, and those who are worse at this in red. With respect to goaltender save percentage, I've colour-coded those whose on-ice PKSV% is *likely* to regress back to league average (0.875%) in green, and those who are likely to experience an on-ice SV% drop in red.

The first surprising note is that 21 year old defenseman Cody Ceci led the Senators in PK ice-time last year. Sure, the team's most trusted defensive defenseman was out for most of the year, but it sure means something that Ceci was given these minutes over Borowiecki, Gryba, and Cowen. Unfortunately for the Senators, the three players that were subtracted from this group (Gryba, Condra, Legwand) all performed relatively well compared to league average last season, though none were exceptional at preventing shot attempts against. What's more worrying is that the players who they may be using to replace those minutes - Milan Michalek, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris - performed worse.

There is a reason for hope though, other than sample size. Both Alex Chiasson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, albeit in limited minutes, were two of the better Sens players in terms of preventing shot attempts against. Although the Senators goaltenders didn't stop as many pucks with Pageau on the ice last year (hence his dead last on-ice PKSV%), the diminutive forward has a reputation for being a strong defensive player and has played PK for the better part of his junior and pro hockey career. Chiasson is an interesting name yet again, as unlike his decent powerplay totals for two years now, this was the first year that he was used on the penalty kill, making me hesitant to claim if he has the potential to be effective on the PK. The fact that his CA60 is the best on the team by nearly twenty shot attempts could mean something though, and I wouldn't mind seeing Chiasson get some of his ice-time on the PK if he's going to be used on the 4th line at even-strength.

Interestingly, Jared Cowen's *one* skill appears to be on the penalty kill, even though he generally looks lost on the ice. This is the third year in a row that Cowen's had better CA60 numbers than most of his teammates, and if he's going to be a regular in the lineup, it'd be nice if he could replace some of Gryba's minutes here. On the other hand, the Sens should be careful to let Chris Phillips play on the PK this year, lessening his role on the team yet again.

As a final note, the second centre position appears to be up for grabs here. Zack Smith has never really had solid PK numbers, worsening his value as a non-offensive player already, whereas 20-yo Curtis Lazar may be too young for PK duty despite solid defensive play (he didn't play 50+ minutes on the PK last year). Given that Kyle Turris doesn't seem suited to this role, I wouldn't be surprised if Cameron uses Lazar here this year.

Here's what I have as the Sens two PK units to start the year, barring any changes. What's your lineup?

PK Unit I: Pageau - Michalek, Methot - Ceci

PK Unit II: Lazar - Chiasson, Borowiecki - Cowen

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Sens Links

  • In light of Hoffman's bargain $2M arbitration ruling, Ross takes a look at how much Hoffman was worth with respect to his comparables. Chirp also wades into the arbitration coverage, going through the perspectives of both sides, and Jack argues that Hoffman's arbitration hearing is a low-risk situation. [Silver SevenSensChirpSenShot]
  • Nichols with a scoop on a potential new front office addition to the Senators: a brand new Swedish scout named Jimmy Blixt. [6th Sens]
  • Andrew has a wonderful list of underappreciated Sens players. I'm sure one of your favourites are listed here - a couple of mine are! [WTYKY]
  • Jack wonders how many starts the Senators expect out of Andrew Hammond this year. Is he mainly going to play during crammed weeks? Can he push Craig Anderson for starts? [SenShot]
  • Peter Levi with another great News & Notes column, this time looking at some development camp tidbits, and looking back at the 2010-11 BSens roster. [Eye On the Sens]
  • A guest post on SensChirp from Dave Baker, who ambitiously wants to tell Ottawa's hockey history in a documentary. You can check out his project, which aims to have a product for Ottawa 2017, here. [SensChirp]
  • In last week's edition of Bingo Bites, Jeff takes a look at the BSens increased goaltending depth. Matt O'Connor and Chris Driedger will hold down the fort to start. [Silver Seven]
  • We've started to count down our top 25 prospects under 25, as per S7 offseason tradition. Ross and Callum look at Buddy Robinson and Ben Harpur respectively. [T25U25 - RobinsonHarpur]
  • Jack wrapped up his countdown of the 50 Greatest (modern) Sens players. Here's the complete list! Would you make any changes? [SenShot]
  • Ever wanted to visit the Big Rig brew but never got a chance to? Let Andrew and Luke walk you through their visit in a fun read. [WTYKY]
  • Trevor, who will now be writing for us at Silver Seven, finishes up his SenShot coverage by looking at some of the best/worst case scenarios for Clarke MacArthur and Curtis Lazar [SenShot - MacArthurLazar]
  • Another reminder from Nichols (and us) to go to the Sens Summer Fan Fest! You can buy tickets here, but be sure to read about the event (last year and what's coming up this year) here. [6th Sens]
Hockey Links
  • Sean McIndoe on the NHL's breaking news problem. A lot of good points in here, especially about player salaries. I just want the complaining to end so we can get to actual analysis instead. [Grantland]
  • Things are about to get messy for the NHL, as a judge has ordered the league to hand over their concussion data. Hopefully this results in positive changes to player safety protocol. [TSN]
  • Jonathan Quick is featured in the Players Tribune, and has some really interesting comments on how dangerous offensive players can wear you down without taking a shot. Eli Rassi has an interesting complementary piece. [The Players TribuneInGoalMag]
  • Some great analysis from Travis Yost that offers some thoughts with respect to on-ice shooting percentages. [TSN]
  • Calling all data enthusiasts: the folks over at War On Ice continue to make all of their raw data public, free for you to play with on your own. [War On Ice]
Thanks for reading!