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End-of-Season Report Cards: Forwards

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Who were the best and worst forwards of the season?

Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

With the Sens’ season complete, the Silver Seven staff, along with you, the readers, have submitted their player grades. The info has been compiled, and this week we’ll be going through how each player fared in the 2017-18 season. All staff ballots will be revealed at the end of the week. First up: the forwards.

Alexandre Burrows

Stats: 71GP, 6G-8A-14PTS, 46.31 CF%, 47.53 xGF%

With his least productive season in over ten years, Burrows had a hard time keeping up in the bottom six. The Dahlen trade definitely left a bad taste going into the season, although his poor results, coupled with multiple infractions from NHL Player Safety, put him as our lowest graded forward. The fact that no team wanted to claim him off waivers speaks volumes.

Grade: D-

Filip Chlapik

Stats: 20GP, 1G-3A-4PTS, 48.64 CF%, 43.68 xGF%

One of the many rookies to get an extended look, Chlapik was able to help out a little bit in the bottom six. It took a while for him to get his first NHL goal, but the Czech could be vying for a full-time position next season. Apart from the NHL, he was Belleville’s leading scorer in their inaugural season.

Grade: C+

Matt Duchene

Stats: 68GP, 23G-26A-49PTS, 47.74 CF%, 45.69 xGF%

Duchene’s season in Ottawa can be split into two distinct parts. His first 24 games were a complete dud that left fans wondering why we gave up so much for him in the trade, as he scored only six points during the Sens’ cold spell. From January on he was the complete opposite, with 43 points in his last 44 games. His skill was on display the whole time, but some bounces finally started to go his way. Now that we know what he’s capable of doing, let’s hope for a full season of the second part.

Grade: A

Ryan Dzingel

Stats: 79GP, 23G-18A-41PTS, 48.15 CF%, 46.71 xGF%

The 2017-18 winner of going above expectations, Dzingel’s finishing ability is no longer a question as his 23 goal season cemented him as a top six forward. He still possesses his incredible top end speed, which made him one of the more fun players to watch this season. His 16.9% shooting percentage will likely regress at least a little (his previous career average was 11.6%), but his skills can’t be denied.

Grade: A-

Marian Gaborik

Stats: 16GP, 4G-3A-7PTS, 49.07 CF%, 44.88 xGF%

Acquired later in the season in exchange for Dion Phaneuf, we may have seen the former superstar’s last game in a Sens uniform. Pierre Dorion has stated that there are multiple buyout candidates for this summer, and Gaborik is most likely at or near the top of that list. He underwent surgery a few weeks ago as well, so who knows how ready he’ll be for next season. In the handful of games he played, however, he still had a little bit of the flash from days past, although very faded. No more than a stopgap bottom six player at this point.

Grade: C+

Mike Hoffman

Stats: 82GP, 22G-34A-56PTS, 48.08 CF%, 43.43 xGF%

2017-18 was Hoffman’s least productive campaign since his rookie season, although that didn’t stop him from contributing heavily on the offensive side. He was once again the Sens’ biggest and most relied upon weapon on the power play, as his 21 points on the man advantage led the team. There were definitely some questionable decisions made in the defensive end, although weight that as you’d like for a player whose role is to put pucks in the net. He led the forwards in shots on goal, with 90 more than the next highest player, as his shot ranks among the league’s best.

Grade: B+

Max McCormick

Stats: 30GP, 3G-2A-5PTS, 46.08 CF%, 53.55 xGF%

McCormick’s 30 games this season were all spent on the 4th line, playing the ‘energy role’ that has warmed him to his coaches. His penalty rate in the NHL was significantly lower than in the AHL, although that likely has to do with him playing only 8:21 a night, compared to top line duties for Belleville. His contract turns into a one-way deal next season — is the 25-year-old ready?

Grade: D+

Jim O’Brien

Stats: 10GP, 0G-1A-1PTS, 46.15 CF%, 63.10 xGF%

Signed to an AHL contract and subsequently an NHL deal mid-season, it was quite the surprise to see the return of JOB ten years after the Sens drafted him 29th overall. He snuck in ten games, where he wasn’t all that productive, but looked on-par with many of the other bottom six staples. Take it as you will for a small sample size, but he’ll likely only be recalled again in the case of a slew of injuries.

Grade: D+

Magnus Paajarvi

Stats: 35GP, 6G-2A-8PTS, 46.18 CF%, 49.62 xGF%

Claimed off waivers from St. Louis in late January, Paajarvi was essentially this season’s version of Viktor Stalberg. He has some skill, and can play an offensive role in the bottom six, and can manage to pot a few goals. Nothing to get too excited about, although he filled up a roster spot and didn’t drag down the team. I’d call that a success!

Grade: B-

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Stats: 78GP, 14G-15A-29PTS, 45.93 CF%, 43.17 xGF%

Like a handful of others, this was Pageau’s least productive season since he was a rookie in 2014-15. He received the bulk of the defensive starts, and occasionally would face the top competition. He didn’t seem all that out of place in the top six after the Brassard trade, although sub-30 points is quite underwhelming production from the local hero.

Grade: C+

Nick Paul

Stats: 11GP, 1G-0A-1PTS, 54.92 CF%, 45.38 xGF%

Paul had a bit of an up and down season, as like Duchene, he only got hot at the end of the year (although he was in the AHL). His Ottawa stints didn’t prove to be very productive, as the 23-year-old is running out of time to turn himself into a full-time NHLer.

Grade: C

Tom Pyatt

Stats: 81GP, 7G-15A-22PTS, 42.90 CF%, 40.38 xGF%

One of the more divisive players on the roster, Pyatt scores at the rate of a top-nine forward, although his underlying numbers have been far worse. This season was no different, although he was moved into the top six much less frequently following the end of the Hoffman-Pageau-Pyatt line. Amongst forwards with 500+ minutes at 5v5, Pyatt’s expected goals percentage (xGF%) ranks fifth worst.

Grade: D+

Bobby Ryan

Stats: 62GP, 11G-22A-33PTS, 48.39 CF%, 47.02 xGF%

Although it’s highly unlikely Ryan will reach the level worth his $7.25M contract, he improved off of last season, with eight more points in the same amount of games. It’s not quite Playoff Bobby levels of scoring, although he held tight on the second line for most of the season.

Grade: C+

Zack Smith

Stats: 68GP, 5G-14A-19PTS, 45.79 CF%, 44.72 xGF%

Smith had a season to forget, as although his scoring rate wasn’t that far below what we’re used to, he had trouble keeping up defensively. His -28 goal differential at 5v5 was the worst on the team, although like many, he ran into a bit of bad luck with the goaltending. He was the Sens’ worst player when it came to allowing unblocked shots (Fenwick), as he found himself frequently on the 4th line near the end of the season.

Grade: D+

Mark Stone

Stats: 58GP, 20G-42A-62PTS, 51.41 CF%, 50.29 xGF%

Had it not been for his injury, this could’ve potentially been the best individual Sens season since the glory days of the mid-2000s. Stone is an absolute game-changer, as the ice tilts in Ottawa’s direction whenever he hits the ice. He receives the highest grade of not only the forwards, but all Sens players this season.

Grade: A+

Colin White

Stats: 21GP, 2G-4A-6PTS, 43.80 CF%, 41.66 xGF%

His point production was lacking in both Ottawa and especially Belleville, but White is still full of potential. At 21 years old, he played a decent two-way game when playing in Ottawa’s bottom six, although struggled when thrust into the top six. There were some moments where it looked like the Sens were rushing him, as he probably still needs a bit more time in Belleville to hone his craft. He’ll be a full-time NHLer soon enough.

Grade: C+

Stats from NHL.com and Corsica.