The Ottawa Senators had a decent week, going 1-1-2 in four games. They lost to the New Jersey Devils in the shootout before bouncing back against the Buffalo Sabres. Finally, they lost two close games to a couple of Eastern Conference juggernauts in the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs (on paper, anyway). Let’s take a look at who contributed the most to this recent stretch of .500 hockey.
First Star: Craig Anderson (2 GP, 1-0-1, .939 SV%)
Anderson was a brick wall this week, stopping 62 of 66 shots in the two games he played, both against teams that are used to seeing him at that level. With the trade deadline approaching, Anderson may be seeing his last his last few games as a Senator. If he is traded, I hope he wins the three more games he needs to hit 200 with Ottawa before that happens.
Second Star: Tyler Ennis (4 GP, 2G, 2A)
With several of Ottawa’s top forwards on cold streaks, Tyler Ennis has been continuing to carry the load offensively, with two goals and two assists this week. He’s giving Ottawa some of the best value in the league right now with a cap hit of only $800,000:
Lowest cost per goal among standard contracts this season:— CapFriendly Depth Charts (@CF_DepthCharts) January 30, 2020
Conor Garland - $48,438
Tyler Ennis - $61,538
Lucas Wallmark - $67,500
Derek Grant - $70,000
Andrew Mangipane - $71,500
Anthony Deangelo - $77,083
Anthony Duclair - $78,571
Robby Fabbri - $81,818
Tyler Bertuzzi - $82,353
He’s slowly pricing himself out of an extension with the Senators, and with that low cap hit, every team who wants to add forward depth at the trade deadline will be able to trade for Ennis, which will increase his trade value a lot.
Third Star: Drake Batherson (4 GP, 0G, 4A)
Finally, we can talk about a player who will be on the team for sure next season! Drake Batherson continued to put his first stint with the big club to shame, adding four assists this week and increasing his totals to one goal and five assists in thirteen games this year. Don’t let the lack of offence fool you, Batherson has been adapting to the pace of the NHL very well, bringing a level of speed and physicality that we’ve never seen from him before. He’s looking like he’ll be a fixture in the Senators’ top six for years to come.
Trending Up: Dylan DeMelo
DeMelo’s been fantastic defensively all year, but his offensive output has been subpar. This week, he was just as steady as usual on the back end and added three assists in the four games he played this week. DeMelo’s another candidate to be moved at the deadline but I don’t think other GMs will be valuing him as they should be, as DeMelo is known as a bottom-pairing defender for Ottawa, yet we know he can thrive on the top pair with Thomas Chabot if given the opportunity. The best option by far is to sign him to a three-year deal.
Trending Down: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Pageau’s cooled down since his absolutely dominant stretch during the month of November. His performance on the power-play in overtime against the Leafs, in which he whiffed on multiple attempts with the game on his stick, was frustrating to watch. Despite being a great leader and third-line centre for the Senators, if Pageau wants top-six money on his next deal, he’s going to have to find a team gullible enough to pay him accordingly.
Who to Watch: Anthony Duclair
Duclair is desperately trying to end his goal-scoring drought; despite only one assist this week he also threw fourteen shots on opposing goalies. What we’re seeing with Duclair right now is an expected regression in shooting percentage (currently at 14.3%), and if he keeps shooting at this pace, he’s bound to see at least a few more goals before the end of the season.
- Christian Wolanin (torn labrum) is back in a regular jersey and is practicing with the team. He’s expected to report to Belleville once he’s 100%, which will be a huge boost for the blue line, already with Erik Brannstrom, Christian Jaros and Jordan Murray contributing in a big way.
- Nick Paul (ankle) has also been practicing in a regular jersey, and while he’s a long shot to play against the Ducks tomorrow, he's progressing towards a return at a great pace. Hopefully he can get back on track and not let his injury derail his strong season.
- The team is being very cautious with Anders Nilsson (concussion), as there’s been no update on his status.