Ottawa Senators Player Grades: Rourke Chartier

The Rourke in me recognizes the Rourke in you

Ottawa Senators Player Grades: Rourke Chartier
Photo by John Rourke / Unsplash

Reader Grade: C, Staff Grade: C-

Like a lot of Ottawa's depth players, Rourke Chartier provides value first and foremost as a character and someone who seems like an all-around likeable dude. As for his individual production, well, maybe that's not quite his forte. The 28-year-old centre has had a long, fraught road to becoming a full-time NHLer, beset with injuries and setbacks so seeing him score his first NHL goal in a bazillion years means more to us as fans than the raw numbers, I would wager. And I suppose I consider it a testament to Chartier's character that the readers and the staff gave a "C" grade to a player who has just three points in 43 games over two seasons in Ottawa.

Here's something that Chartier is very good at:

For fans who like low-event hockey, Chartier does it about as well as any forward in town. Unlike some "shutdown" players who provide zero offence and bleed chances against, Chartier does a great job of limiting his opponents' time and keeping them to the perimeter. While he often fell victim to the roster crunch and spent a good chunk of his season in Belleville (where he has had a huge impact with 27 goals in 59 games all time with the BSens), Chartier became one of Ottawa's most valuable penalty-killers alongside Parker Kelly.

Chartier, Kelly, and Mark Kastelic as a line did pretty much what you would expect as a fourth unit on a mediocre team. They didn't produce very many goals but they had good chemistry and their on-ice numbers at five-on-five (corsi, expected goals) improved when playing together, as defensive specialists. Chartier didn't exactly thrive when bumped up in the lineup to centre Mathieu Joseph and Drake Batherson but I can appreciate the coaching staff rewarding Chartier with the opportunity to play those extra minutes. It also bears mentioning that Chartier didn't fare well lined up alongside Dominik Kubalik—go figure!

Among other things to note about Chartier, he can win some face-offs, with a 52% success rate as a Senator. He also averages just over one shot per game. Probably my favourite stat of Chartier's: he has taken just two minor penalties playing as a depth forward in Ottawa while drawing ten. Chartier does not fit into the protypical fourth line role quite like Kastelic or Zack MacEwen and he doesn't need to scrap to stay in the lineup. Chartier has made his impact essentially by flying under the proverbial radar. If you don't notice him, then he has done something right. He limits chances against and kills a lot of penalties (while not taking them himself). To illustrate Chartier's prowess shorthanded:

We don't know where Chartier will play next season, as a pending UFA, but Belleville would certainly appreciate having him around if the Sens and Chartier could agree on a two-way contract and, as I said, Chartier plays perfectly well as a defensively-sound fourth liner when the Sens need one. Of course, the Sens already have Kastelic, Kelly, and MacEwen presumably in the fold for next season. Assuming any number of Boris Katchouk, Cole Reinhardt, and Egor Sokolov come back next year, the Sens would need to roster them or place them on waivers.

Either way, I think Chartier makes a solid fourth-line option for an average NHL team or a great veteran forward in the AHL. In Ottawa, the introduction of Travis Green also adds another element to the plot in terms of who comes back and in what capacity for the Sens' fringe players. Chartier won't magically become a 20-goal scorer over the summer but he plays defence about as well as you can hope for a forward making league-minimum or thereabouts. That might buy him a bit more time in the NHL yet.

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