In a jam-packed week of games, the Senators managed to survive with an even 2-2 split record. While it may not have been totally ideal for #TeamTank, they still sit in third last, while also giving the San Jose Sharks a loss, improving their odds at a second lottery pick. That game was particularly entertaining to watch, and did a lot of service in setting apart this week’s three stars.
- Connor Brown — Brown was the Senators’ best player this week. He’s on a four-game point streak (1G, 4A) and has been playing a boat load of minutes on the first line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Considering how much he’s been relied upon this season, he only notched his first goal yesterday against the Sharks, which was his best game of the week. He was also one of the team’s best defensive players, as he wasn’t on the ice for a goal against in the four games.
- Brady Tkachuk — Another one of the top performers against the Sharks with a goal and two assists, Tkachuk was a positive contributor in every game this week. He’s an analytics monster, with an expected goals percentage above 50% in every game, meaning he was out-chancing the other team whenever he hit the ice.
- Nick Paul — It was an arrival party of sorts for Paul this week. Since getting the call from Belleville before the start of the week, his ice time steadily increased, and he’s responded accordingly. Although his games against the Stars and Islanders weren’t particularly great, he had the Sens’ best individual performance of the week against the Sharks, with his first multi-goal game. It’ll be interesting to see what his role becomes in the coming weeks — he’s not the most consistent player, but if he can continue playing like he did against San Jose, he could have a roster spot locked down.
Thomas Chabot — Chabot had a slew of good individual performances this week. After getting caved in for a handful of games at the very start of the season, he’s been reversing that in this recent stretch. He’s single-handedly turning this team’s power play into an occasional threat instead of a complete dud, with his creative maneuvering and excellent vision. His best game came against the Red Wings with two assists, although he also played 30 minutes against the Islanders.
Vladislav Namestnikov — Namestnikov wasn’t awful this week, he’s just cooling down after his hot start, hence trending down. He was on the ice for way more chances against than chances for this week, with the Stars in particular decimating his line with Chris Tierney and Anthony Duclair. I don’t expect Namestnikov to get back to the point-per-game pace like he was after his first few games, but his past defensive results have been really good, so hopefully he can contribute more in that way next week.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Colin White, who had a poor game against Dallas before being put on injured reserve for the next 3-5 weeks. He wasn’t playing up to the standards of a top-six centre before, and I think we now know why. Hopefully he can come back fully healed this time.
Who to Watch:
Bobby Ryan — Ryan was healthy scratched against the Sharks for a supposed lack of effort, but truth be told, he wasn’t one of the Sens’ worst players this week. It may have been below his standards, although a healthy scratch may have been a bit overboard. He’s certainly falling out of favour with the coach, and his expensive contract makes him completely unmovable mid-season, so it will be interesting to see what his role evolves to as the season progresses.