Ottawa Senators at the Halfway Mark: On-Pace Totals

We’ve reached the halfway mark of the season, so let’s dig into how each player’s season might project given their current pace

The Ottawa Senators are at the halfway mark in this strange 56-game season, and they have a somewhat forgettable record of 9-18-1. What’s great about the halfway mark is that it gives us a neat separation between the first and second half and an easy point to jump off for full season projections.

Today’s article is primarily focused on point totals to see who is doing either better, worse, or the same as expected. One of the issues with the shortened season is adjusting to benchmark again an 82 game season’s performance., so it’s more challenging to think about how good a 40-point season is in relation to a regular 82-game season. For that reason, I’ll also be providing per-82 game stats to help contextualize the players’ production thus far.

In the table below, I’ve included most Senators players with at least 10 games played. That leaves out Christian Wolanin, Matthew Peca, Josh Brown, Micheal Haley, and Ryan Dzingel for a lack of games played, and I’ve also decided to not include Braydon Coburn and Derek Stepan because the former shouldn’t be playing much, and the latter is out for the rest of the season. I have included everyone’s point totals, their on-pace point totals, and their on-pace point totals in a regular 82-game season. Now, some players have missed games, so for example, Thomas Chabot can only play a maximum of 53 games. Artem Anisimov and Erik Brännström have both missed 15 games, and although they won’t play all of the remaining games, I extrapolated their stats to 41 GP for simplicity’s sake.

Of course the smaller the sample, the less reliable the information, but it’s still fun to look at. Besides points, I also included shots on goal and penalty minutes. There isn’t a whole lot else I could include here because rate statistics such as save percentage, faceoff percentage, or corsi can’t be “on-pace” for anything. With all of those qualifiers out of the way, here are what the Senators players are on pace for:

On-Pace Stats

PlayerPointsOn-Pace ForPoints per 82ShotsOn-Pace ForShots per 82PIMOn-Pace ForPIM per 82
Thomas Chabot19406262131203306498
Drake Batherson1836536112217861218
Brady Tkachuk1836531222443573468100
Tim Stützle1532495812319081726
Josh Norris153044479413861218
Connor Brown1428415410815861218
Colin White1328444189140102234
Nick Paul1122325511016161218
Evgenii Dadonov10202957114167000
Chris Tierney10202929588561218
Nikita Zaitsev1020294284123122435
Mike Reilly919284086126122538
Erik Brannstrom516322373145103263
Artem Zub61526133256102543
Austin Watson71421326494336697
Artem Anisimov4132517541072613
Erik Gudbranson36943861264590132

Lots to take in here, but let’s try to hone in on the most interesting bits. To keep things simple, I’ll be talking about per-82 statistics. Starting with the point totals, Thomas Chabot at over 60 and Drake Batherson and Brady Tkachuk being over 50 is a good development, showing that they should be key parts of this offense for a long time. Tim Stützle and Josh Norris at 49 and 44, respectively, is also very impressive — especially considering that they are still likely to improve with time.

Connor Brown at 41, Colin White at 44, and Nick Paul at 32 all slot in fairly naturally, and those are three players who I think will be key players on the 3rd line as they try to transition into a competitive team. Evgenii Dadonov and Chris Tierney are really the only disappointing totals on here, as both should easily have more than 30 points in a season, especially Dadonov. I expect him to be better as the season goes. I didn’t list goals on here, but the Sens do have five projected 20-goal scorers in a full season: Batherson and Tkachuk (26), Dadonov (23—just hardly any assists), White (24), and Stützle (20). Not too shabby.

Shot totals aren’t necessarily the most fascinating, but I should point out a few things:

  1. Tkachuk’s 357 shots in a full season would be 55th all-time for a single season, it’s just a shame this season is shortened. The only active players with individual seasons with more shots than Tkachuk’s projected 357 are Alex Ovechkin, Zach Parise, Eric Staal, and Nathan MacKinnon. That’s special company.
  2. Stützle is on pace for 190 shots, which is quite a lot for a teenage rookie. For reference, in the last 82-game season, there was only one rookie to best that mark—Ottawa’s own Brady Tkachuk.
  3. Chris Tierney is somehow managing barely more than one shot per game—which is less than everyone besides Artem Zub. He’s a pass-first player, but that’s still incredibly low.

For penalty minutes, most totals line up as we expected except for: Chabot’s career-high in PIMs is 42, and he’s already just 12 back of that. In 2018-19, he had 32 PIM in 70 games, and he’s almost at that mark in just 25 games. He certainly needs to find a way to stay out of the box. Watson and Gudbranson’s totals are unsurprisingly high, and so is Tkachuk’s. There are others with low totals that are great to see, although the winner for most sportsmanlike is Dadonov who has somehow gone through these 28 games without taking a single penalty! He only has 26 PIMs over the past 3+ seasons anyway though, so it’s more of the same for him.

Overall, it doesn’t look like there are too many surprises with these on-pace totals, although it’s still nice to see that players such as Batherson, Stützle, and Norris are actually succeeding, because there was no guarantee that all of them were going to be contributing this season. We’ll have to look back at these at the end of the season to see if anyone really took off or dropped off in the second half.

At a team level, Ottawa is on pace for just 38 points in this shortened season, which would be quite a disappointment compared to some predictions (or hopes) which had them in the 50+ point range. However, after beginning the season 2-12-1, they are 7-6-0 in their last 13 games. That’s not incredible, but they’ve been much more respectable and perhaps they can carry that over into the second half of the season. For reference, that 38-point pace would be 56 points in a full season, which is 16 points fewer than their pace from last season.

So there is still a lot of work to do, but things are looking up with their young core.

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