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S7S Mailbag Part 2: Analyzing the Team

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Part two of two for the S7S mailbag responds to questions regarding analyzing the Senators

Tampa Bay Lightning v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

With part two of two of the mailbag, the Silver Seven Sens Staff answers the rest of the questions, which mainly talk about analyzing the Ottawa Senators. Here they are:

The real reason this season is a write off is because of...arrange the following in order of importance: A. The goaltending B. The Defence C. The Coach D. The General Manager—jnewman68

This is a trick question because all four things listed have been abysmal this season. But I think I’d keep it in that exact order, as an NHL team simply cannot win if its goaltending is this bad, no matter how good a GM constructed his team or how good the coach is.

The defense is still a bottom-10 group in the league, and Guy Boucher is testing fans patience with his stubbornness this year. Pierre Dorion made some poor moves (and lack of moves), but at the end of the day it comes down to the execution of the players. Plus I’m slightly more angry and upset with Boucher at this point, but Dorion isn’t getting much love either—TS

1. Goaltender. Is it time to move on to a younger one next year from Condon or Andy? 2. Do injuries and progression worry you about Logan Brown at all? 3. Why do we still have Johnny Oduya? A big thank you for your time—NorthIceMan

Lots to unpack here.

1. Yes...but also, I’m not entirely sure how. There’s gonna be no trade market for Anderson. He’s older and extended two years past this one. Demoting him isn’t really an option at this point. Either he figures it out again next season, keeping up with his “year on year off” career pattern, or he’s an expensive backup+mentor for two more years. Mike Condon might be more tradeable, since he’s only 27 and there was a market for him last year, but $2.4M is expensive. Maybe leif.helmer’s suggestion of Petr Mrazek yesterday makes sense. Other than that, we might be stuck with this tandem until they can justify to the owner that burying or buying out Condon is in the team’s best interest.

2. I’d be lying if I said they didn’t worry me at all. However, when healthy, he’s been playing well. 13 goals in 15 games is nothing to scoff at. I think we would’ve seen good things at the World Juniors too if he hadn’t got hurt. In terms of talent, he’s where he should be in his draft+2 season. I think there’s a very real possibility he’ll be on Ottawa’s fourth line and second powerplay unit next year. The injuries this year have been a wrist injury, a shoulder injury, and now a hand injury. In theory, those are different injuries.

So hopefully he’s just been unlucky, and this will work itself out over time. However, they may all be arm-type injuries, which could mean he’s not healing or something. I’m cautiously hopeful because they don’t seem related, but he could be a younger Bobby Ryan, who looks fine when he plays but seems to miss 40% of every season.

3. He’s a veteran who’s won a Cup. All NHL coaches have a soft spot for these guys. So do GMs, really. It’s why Dave Bolland got the contract he did. It’s why Brent Seabrook got his current contract. It’s why Toews was in the conversation for best player in the world for a while. It’s also why I’m hopeful that someone will give up a late pick to get him at the deadline.

Bonus: A big thank you for reading! This site would have no purpose with no community—RA

With all the posturing between Melnyk and Mayor Watson, what do you think about the Sens future in Ottawa? Do you think this uncertainty is having an impact on the performance on the ice this season?—Righteous637

Firstly, I don’t think there’s any chance that this drama around the Senators potential new rink and their “uncertainty” as a franchise has any impact on their performance at all. These guys are professionals and aren’t going to be paying much attention to the business side of things; all they care about is winning.

As for the initial question, I still think that the Senators have a long-term future in Ottawa. It would be asinine to move the team considering they’re a solid market, and I do see a point in time where a new owner comes in and they get a new rink at LeBreton. I’m not sure what will happen if LeBreton falls through, but it’s not as if the franchise should fold if they stay in Kanata—TS

Hi Silver, It seems to me that the Sens seem to win more with Bobby Ryan out of the lineup than when he is in the lineup. I personally love the guy, but I’d be interested in the stats—Cliff Wardle

When Bobby Ryan’s been in the lineup this season, the Sens have gone 10-15-7 (0.8 points per game), which means they’ve been 5-3-2 when he’s out injured (1.2 points per game).

Although the initial observation is correct, there’s still a lot of variance that ties into the drastic difference. The Sens get 1.28 percentage points more of the share of shot attempts when he’s on the ice compared to when he’s on the bench at 5v5, and 7.89 percentage points more in the expected goal share. Even in terms of raw goal totals, his relative GF% is 12.05, so his underlying metrics look to be holding up even in one of his weakest offensive seasons.

A caveat to the previous stats is that he’s been deployed heavily next to Stone, who can make pretty much anybody look good. But even adjusting for context, the results don’t really match the team’s record when he’s out of the lineup—CC

Q: Would you (the S7S staffers) rather: A) the Senators make the playoffs every year, forever. or B) the Senators never lose to the Maple Leafs again, ever—Fisher’s Man Friend

As a Sens fan in Toronto, I admit that my answer is going to be completely biased and is for the sole purpose of significantly increasing my quality of life. B)—AM

Dear mailbag. Who do you consider to be a top goalie prospect for Ottawa to go after this draft? Living on the east coast I have seen some great promise out of Matthew Welsh of the Charlottetown Islanders and Tristan Bérubé of the Gatineau Olympiques. We need to start developing new goal-tending talent after the disaster that is this year. So I’m curious who you think Ottawa should draft this year?—Wexter

Thanks for the question. I’m generally of the mindset that good starting goalies are best sought after through trade, although that shouldn’t prevent teams from drafting goalies. Marcus Hogberg has had his high and low points this season, although who’s to stop a team from having multiple good goalie prospects?

The two you mentioned, Welsh and Bérubé, both have upside (and a good SV% this season), although they’ll both be 19 by the time the draft rolls around in their second year of eligibility. I’m sure the Sens have seen them frequently (they’ve been drafting from the QMJHL a lot recently) and may consider them in a later round. But if they want to add a top goalie prospect to their system, I don’t think they fit the bill.

Here’s my current short-list of goalies I’m keeping an eye on for the coming months (links to Elite Prospects pages): Jakub Skarek, Samuel Ersson, Jordan Kooy, Daniel Dvorak, Linus Gidbark, Jesper Myrenberg and David Tendeck. Skarek in particular seems like the favourite to be the first off the board, putting up great stats at every level he’s played in the Czech Republic—CC

What is your favourite goal from the season and if it’s not by Mark Stone explain why are you wrong—The Tif

Nothing specific comes to mind, and I have to agree that the correct answer would be a goal by Stone. The man celebrates every goal as if he scored a playoff overtime winner, and it’s incredible seeing how much passion he has on a horrible team. So all of his 18 goals are my favourite this season then. We don’t deserve him, although I pray Ottawa is able to lock him up long-term this summer—TS

Olympic Predictions?—Anonymous

Not all the rosters have been released yet (so far we know Canada, USA, Czech Republic and Sweden). Although from what we do know, I think my favourite team so far is Sweden. They may not have fantastic centre depth, although the SHL has provided them a great set of wingers (including Stalberg), many of which could probably play a depth role in the NHL. Plus they’ll have Rasmus Dahlin manning their blueline, who may very well already be the best defenceman in the entire tournament.

With that said, I think the most likely victor will end up being Russia’s neutral team, as the talent they’ll be provided from the KHL will be too much for anyone else to handle. With players like Datsyuk and Kovalchuk still among their roster options, they’ll be the only team with any sort of international star-quality talent.

A couple quick thoughts on Team Canada:

  • They did well with the choices, and are very similar to the United States in terms of skill level. The biggest difference between the two is that USA took players from the NCAA, whereas Canada did not (although attempted for Cale Makar).
  • Chris Kelly was the only real head-scratcher of a pick.
  • Goaltending is going to rely pretty heavily on Ben Scrivens to stay healthy and play half-decent.

Medal prediction: Russia gets gold, Sweden takes silver and Canada squeaks away with a bronze medal over the United States—CC

Thanks to everyone who participated, and if you didn’t get a question in, be sure to next time!