Five Thoughts for Friday: Greig for Calder, True Optimism, Tarasenko Talk, and more

Thoughts on Ridly Greig's Calder case, analytics under Jacques Martin staying elite, Vladimir Tarasenko potentially being dealt, and more!

Five Thoughts for Friday: Greig for Calder, True Optimism, Tarasenko Talk, and more
Photo by Ariel / Unsplash

Five Thoughts as we head into the Family Day weekend:

Greig's Calder Case

People outside of Ottawa probably think I'm joking when I say this, but if the season ended now, Ridly Greig would deserve a Calder nomination for the league's best rookie. Should he win it? That's tough to say, but he definitely has a legitimate case to be in the top 3. He's only tied for 12th in scoring with 20 points in 40 games (tied for 9th in points per game), but you need to look beyond the point totals here. Plus/minus is a very flawed stat, but voters still look at it, and Greig is 1st amongst rookies (and 12th overall) at +18.

More importantly though, the advanced numbers shine an even brighter light. According to Evolving Hockey, he sits 1st in Goals Above Replacement amongst rookies at 13.4 (before last night), and that is tied for 16th in the entire league with Jack Eichel and Filip Hronek. Furthermore, heading into Wednesday, he was second amongst rookies in overall value according to Dom L's model at The Athletic:


At 5v5, Greig has a very impressive 53.89 xGF%, which is 4th amongst rookies. That's even more impressive when you consider that his most common linemate this year has been Dominik Kubalik, who can literally not be given away for free this year. Kubalik is at -21 and Greig is at +18...make that make sense. Considering how points are valued in awards voting, I doubt Greig would actually win the Calder, but he absolutely has a case and he should be one of the finalists if this keeps up. However, I'm not counting on that happening based on history.

Will Tarasenko Stay?

Last week, Vladimir Tarasenko changed agents for the second time in seven months, this time hiring Craig Oster, the agent of Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris. The Tkachuk/Norris connection might just be more of a coincidence though, as Bruce Garrioch is reporting that the agent switch might be more so that he can work out a contract extension with a team that is not on his no-trade list before a trade is finalized.

It will be interesting to see what Steve Staios does here because Tarasenko has become beloved here by the fans and seems to be a great veteran leader for this team. His 35 points in 48 games is solid production, although his defensive game leaves something to be desired. They should be able to get at least a 2nd round pick and potentially a prospect as well, which could be good, plus $5M can be used on someone else next season.

I wouldn't mind keeping him around because of the experience he brings, but if they want to maximize their value, trading him and replacing him with a similar player is probably the way to go.

Can Kastelic Bring His Value Up?

Another player that could be on the move is Mark Kastelic. However, he's in a much different situation than Tarasenko. He has a paltry 3 points in 33 games this season and was benched during the 3rd period on Tuesday night. Unsurprisingly, Garrioch believes the Senators will look to trade him before the deadline. However, I'm not sure why a team would move an asset for him. He has 18 points in 114 career games, and is signed on a one-way deal for $835k next season. With every dollar so important in a tight cap system, I bet he'd even clear waivers.

He is good on faceoffs with a career 57.3% rate and hits a good amount, but he doesn't have a good on-ice impact and brings nothing offensively. The Sens can and should find better options if they want to improve their depth, and I wouldn't expect much in return for Kastelic.

True Optimism...For Real, This Time

It seems like the Senators are going on their annual "we're out of the playoffs so here's our best hockey" run, although last night's loss put a damper on things. This run seems inevitable, and although it can be encouraging, it's also maddening that they can never play that way consistently. At the same time, previous runs of good play in other seasons never included elite play at 5v5. That last month under Jacques Martin has been that though: elite.

Mike Kelly of shared how the Senators have vastly improved recently under Martin, and it's very encouraging. I talked about this not long ago, and seeing Kelly's other statistics affirms my opinion even more (numbers heading into yesterday):

Even last night, they were at 65.13 xGF%, but Joonas Korpisalo allowed 2.92 more goals than expected. The players still needed to be more precise and finish their chances as well, but if they're going to lose, it's good to see them still getting a large share of the chances. I keep saying it, but with competent goaltending, this is a playoff team next season. 5th in corsi, 6th in xGF%, and all the fantastic numbers provided by Kelly over the past 13 games can't just be a fluke.

Brace for the Awfulness that is Fanatics

This might be more of an off-season thought, but it's difficult to not be upset about it right now. Fanatics has partnered with the NHL to take over as the official jersey manufacturer for 10 years beginning in 2024-25. They are also partnered with MLB, and in conjunction with Nike, they helped create all MLB jerseys for the upcoming 2024 season. Not only are baseball fans clearly upset with these new jerseys, players are...not happy either.

Just look at these monstrosities—how can you tell me these are supposed to be authentic jerseys worth $250-300?

There's already a massive difference between the Senators authentic and replica jerseys based on how much better the gold looks on the real ones, and I'm not looking forward to the quality dropping off for the players as well.

Replica jersey
Authentic jersey

It's such a farce that Fanatics will be running the show despite proving they are an awfully run company.

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