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Silver Seven Mailbag Part 2: Questions on Players

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For part 2 of the mailbag, we answer your questions about specific players you were wondering about

NHL: Preseason-Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

I was thinking that the team may have been showcasing Boro before the deadline, trying to package him, to clear room for Claesson, who I think should be playing instead of Boro at this point. Did you get that impression? And why do you think Claesson isn't playing currently?

With his 1-way contract, the only thing I can think of is that maybe they want a bruiser in there, and maybe they're still showcasing him a little bit so that they can trade him for an asset in the offseason? Maybe with the Sens being a top-10 defensive team, they feel like they could get something for even one of their bottom-3 dmen?—-Anonymous

Why does the Senators organization seem to have this insane idea that Borocop is a better choice on the bottom pair than Claesson (even though Boro improved significantly). Claesson to me still aces the eye test and looks like he belongs. I get the love affair with Ceci but how long until they cut bait with him?—-Anonymous

I’ll combine these two since they both ask about Mark Borowiecki. I agree with both of you that Fredrik Claesson should be in the lineup everyday instead of Borowiecki, and it’s frustrating to see him get scratched a lot. It seems like Boucher likes him though, but he must think that Ottawa needs a physical defenseman like Boro in the lineup or else they’ll become too “soft.”

I really don’t think the Senators were showcasing Boro, and they will probably have to keep both him and Claesson for next season because one of Cody Ceci, Marc Methot, or Chris Wideman will most likely be gone. Of course, Boro has played better than in years past, but he’s still extremely limited.

As for Cody Ceci, he’s an even more frustrating case. He averages 23:18 of ice time per night, which is probably 10 minutes too much. It’s hard to imagine them cutting bait with him, especially considering they had some very good offers for him in the summer and turned them down. He may be here for a while—Trevor

Does Mark stone have all the credentials to win the Selke, or is there something missing from his game that the voters notice?—-hockeySENSes (@bobr720720)

Thanks for the question. Looking at last year’s Selke nomination video, there were six statistics that were cited:

  • Goals
  • Plus-minus
  • Total time on ice
  • Faceoff win %
  • Total defensive zone faceoff wins
  • Previous Selke nominations

First, I found it odd that they referenced goals if the Selke’s supposed to be a defensive award. If goals are a criteria for the Selke, than why isn’t Ovechkin getting a nomination? Even then Mark Stone should stack up against some of the top nominees, on pace for 30 goals over 82 games compared to 25 for Toews, 22 for Bergeron and only eleven for Kopitar.

The next one, plus-minus, has long been debunked as an unreliable stat. But since the NHL is still clinging to it, Stone is a +10, so it’s not like he’ll be getting negative points for that. After all, Patrice Bergeron was only a +2 when he won it in 2015.

Time on ice is another odd stat to cite because it has nothing to do with defensive performance. However, Stone is second amongst Sens forwards for TOI/GP, and only two seconds per game away from being in the top 50 league-wide. So it’s not like he’s ‘suffering’ from a lack of time on ice.

The next two stats are what I think hurt Stone’s chances the most. Although faceoff wins has also been debunked as not being very significant in the long run, it continues to be overly-analyzed in broadcasts, which makes sense considering how simple they are to evaluate.

No winger has won the Selke trophy since 2003, and it’s been ten years since the last time a winger finished top three in voting (Jay Pandolfo in 2007 - could be earlier if you consider Backes or Zetterberg a winger). This alone seems to be enough to keep Stone out of the conversation.

To cap it off is the previous Selke nominations. The league seems to already have it’s fixed set of players for voting (Toews, Kopitar, Bergeron et al.), and as we saw with Doughty last season, awards are primarily driven by media narrative. To get recognition Stone would need to break that media barrier, which is looking unlikely.

Mark Stone definitely deserves consideration for the Selke. His takeaway numbers are the best the league has ever seen aside from Pavel Datsyuk. He’s physically able to make any linemate around him look better at both ends of the ice, something that very few players are capable of. However, my hopes for him winning aren’t very optimistic.

#SelkeStone—Colin

If Colin White joins the sens this season is he eligible to play in the playoffs?—-PeskySens4Life

Short answer: yes.

The restriction of players not being able to play for the team in the playoffs such as with Brandon Gormley last week (or Scott Gomez last season, if the team had made the playoffs) only applies when the team didn't hold the rights to the player before the trade deadline. Since the Sens hold White's contract rights, all he has to do to be eligible to play for them in the playoffs is put pen to paper—B__T

Can we discuss the Derick Brassard Trade 60 games later, and whether we think we won the trade, why he couldn't get Ryan going, and whether his possession numbers are a direct result of playing with stone, and if he will ever have another 20 goal season?—-Anonymous

I’m not really sure who won just yet. The biggest beef I had with the trade was that Ottawa had to give up a 2nd round pick, plus Brassard is six years older than Mika Zibanejad. Brassard has actually been Ottawa’s best forward in terms of possession, so it’s hard to be too upset right now. I think the points will come down the stretch.

Zibanejad got off to a hot start, but it looks like he’s going to settle in as a 50-point player like we expected. Overall, the Rangers probably win just because of his age and the extra pick. I don’t think it’s Brassard’s fault he couldn’t get Bobby Ryan going, that’s on Bobby. He’s lost a step, and nobody could get him going.

Brassard’s had one 20 goal season, so I’ll say that no he doesn’t hit that mark again. Having said that, he can still be an effective top-6 centre. As for his play with Stone, Brassard has a 50%+ corsi with 11 of his most common teammates, so it’s not like Stone is the only one that keeps him afloat. They both compliment each other—Trevor

To Ross: How many games before you change your tune on the Burrows trade? Seems every Sens fan I have talked to outside of this site is quite happy to have him and he fits in rather nicely. Of course I need a bigger sample size but let’s just assume we get that sample size and it’s positive—-BretC (Andymack with similar question)

It's always nice to be specifically addressed. To be fair, my opinion of Burrows was a little too low when the Sens traded for him. He's undoubtedly better than anyone Ottawa had played on their fourth line all season. He's not a scorer anymore, but his shot suppression numbers are still pretty good.

I still don't think he was worth Jonathan Dahlen, but he's an NHL player and hopefully will be for the rest of the extension. I think the rest of the season is enough games to change my mind. If Burrows is a contributor in the push to the playoffs, I'll change my mind and say the trade was worth it. I like to think I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong—-Ross