Ottawa Senators Player Report Cards 2015-16: Fowards

We start off our grading of the players by taking a look at how each of the forwards did

It's end of year review time, and the results are in! We asked our writers and our readers to grade each Ottawa Senators player's 2015-16 season. 372 readers took up the challenge of grading the players, which was fantastic! First up: the forwards.

Alex Chiasson

Staff Grade: D (Highest C-, Lowest F)

Reader Grade: D+ (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: C

Chiasson followed up last year's disappointing campaign with a much worse 2015-16 campaign. His 14 points in 77 games were a far cry from the seven points in seven games he put up in his promising NHL debut. The centrepiece of the Jason Spezza trade looks unlikely to be qualified in the offseason. Amazingly, he actually had only six points (and one even-strength goal) before the all-star break. He finished with eight points in his final 30 games to safe this from being a disastrous season. Still, he has a lot to prove if he wants another NHL job.

Ryan Dzingel

Staff Grade: B (Highest A-, Lowest C-)

Reader Grade: B- (Highest A+, Lowest D-)

Last year: N/A

Dzingel wasn't expected to play any NHL games this year, and yet found his way into 30. He played one game before Christmas, but looked unlikely to get another chance until injuries opened a door for him. He ended up with nine points, not bad output for a rookie. His speed was a great complement in the bottom six, and though he'll probably start next year in the AHL, he's proven that he deserves one of the first callups.

Dave Dziurzynski

Staff Grade: D- (Highest D, Lowest F)

Reader Grade: C- (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: N/A

He did nothing to impress in Binghamton, and hadn't played any NHL hockey since the lockout-shortened 2013 season, but for some reason he got to play 14 games this year, scoring four points in that span. An injury ended his season prematurely, but also guaranteed his NHL salary for the rest of the season. I'd be very surprised if he was still in the Sens' organization next year.

Scott Gomez

Staff Grade: D- (Highest D, Lowest F)

Reader Grade: D (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: N/A

How many of your remembered he played for the Sens this year? It was a forgettable campaign for him, putting up a single assist in 13 games, and often being a healthy scratch. It was a pointless signing, and I'd be surprised to see him back with the team (or any NHL team) next season.

Mike Hoffman

Staff Grade: A- (Highest B+, Lowest A)

Reader Grade: A- (Highest A+, Lowest C-)

Last year: A-

Hoff finished the season with 29 goals and 30 assists, good enough for second on the team among forwards in scoring. Many were concerned that his 26 goals a year ago were a fluke, but he backed it up by again leading the team in goals (despite long stretches in which he didn't get powerplay time). His upcoming contract negotiations are a concern, since the Sens can't afford to lose him but likely can't afford his salary either. However, the fact that he was on pace for 40 goals entering the all-star break and then didn't even hit 30 makes you wonder if his conditioning is a problem too.

Curtis Lazar

Staff Grade: C- (Highest C+, Lowest D-)

Reader Grade: B- (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: B-

Lazar's season was wholly underwhelming, posting 6-14-20 in 76 games, bettering last year's 67-game output by no goals and five assists. After being hyped as a potential top-six winger entering last season, it's hard to feel disappointing by him settling into the role of fourth-line centre. He's perfectly fine as a fourth-line centre, but none of that promise from junior seems to be left. Makes you wonder if a year in the AHL would've helped.

Max McCormick

Staff Grade: C (Highest A, Lowest D)

Reader Grade: C+ (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: N/A

After winning the coveted Hardest Worker award at training camp, most expect McCormick to at least see a couple games in the NHL. Most didn't expect him to see 20 games. He managed four points, and also found his way into five fights. One wonders if McCormick will take Chris Neil's spot in the lineup when he retires, presumably after next season.

Milan Michalek

Staff Grade: C (Highest B-, Lowest D+)

Reader Grade: C+ (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: B-

Milo's season was a lot like other seasons: out a lot with injuries, and when he's in, he can play on any line. What was different this time around was that he found himself traded to the Maple Leafs as part of the Dion Phaneuf deal, with the Sens trying to get out from the $4-million he was due next season. After he was traded, you heard a lot about how great he was as a mentor and a veteran presence. Unfortunately, six goals and four assists in 32 games just isn't consistent with his salary anymore.

Chris Neil
Staff Grade: C+ (Highest B, Lowest C-)

Reader Grade: B- (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: D+

Last year, it looked like Neil's best years were behind him. This year, he slimmed down in an effort to keep up with the game, and it mostly worked. If anything, he wasn't a liability. He intends to play 1000 games with the Sens, as his one-year extension confirms, and the good news is they will get perfectly adequate fourth-line hockey out of Neil. I wouldn't have said that a year ago.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Staff Grade: B+ (Highest A, Lowest B)

Reader Grade: A- (Highest A+, Lowest C+)

Last year: A

Pageau finally got a full season in the NHL, and he ran with it, scoring 43 points in 82 games. That included a league-leading seven shorthanded goals, which was better than 16 NHL teams (and tied with six more). That put him in a tie for the most SHGs in a single season in the post-full-season lockout era. It's easy to forget Pageau's start to the year was disappointing, since he ended the season so well with Smith and Stone on his line. Here's hoping Pageau starts next season with dependable linemates.

Nick Paul

Staff Grade: C+ (Highest B+, Lowest C-)

Reader Grade: B- (Highest A+, Lowest D)

Last year: N/A

Paul probably wishes the season started in February. His first pro season started miserably, with frequent healthy scratches down in Binghamton. Most were surprised when he got a called up near the end of the season, because his Binghamton stats didn't justify it. But he scored five points in 24 games, and did enough to stay up with the big club for the rest of the season. I'm assuming he'll start next year in Bingo, but he's done enough that hopefully his professional hockey woes are behind him.

Shane Prince

Staff Grade: B- (Highest A-, Lowest C-)

Reader Grade: C+ (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: N/A

It's hard to know what to make of Prince's year, since he only found his way into 42 games, and usually for fewer than 10 minutes a game. On the one hand, it's disappointing he didn't get the chance to seize a bigger role with the injuries the team faced. On the other hand, some would argue that stats showed he did as much as he could with the linemates and ice time he was given. Whatever his true ability, it ended up not mattering, because he was traded for a 3rd-round pick at the deadline.

Matt Puempel

Staff Grade: C (Highest D+, Lowest A-)

Reader Grade: C (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: B-

Quick poll time: how many games did Puempel play this year? If you said 26, you'd be both correct and better at remembering his play than me. He finished with two goals and an assist, rarely having an impact. The Sens reportedly traded Prince to allow room for Puempel (and then signed Gomez to force him out of the lineup), so here's hoping he can show next season why he was a first-round pick in 2011.

Bobby Ryan

Staff Grade: B- (Highest B Lowest C)

Reader Grade: B- (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: B

Ryan faded down the stretch last year, managing just one goal in his final 20 games. This year he managed... one goal in his final 20 games. He scored 56 points in 81 games, versus 54 points in 78 games last year. Fading down the stretch seems to be routine for Ryan, which may pose a problem for a guy making more than $7-million a season until 2022.

Zack Smith

Staff Grade: A- (Highest A, Lowest B)

Reader Grade: A- (Highest A+, Lowest D)

Last year: D+

What a difference a year makes. Last season, Smith managed just three points, and was limited to 37 games by injuries. It looked like his NHL career might be ending. This year, he got moved up to play with Pageau and Stone thanks to injuries, and responded by scoring 25 goals. No one's questioning his NHL spot anymore. It's beginning to look like Smith can be an effective player as long as he's played with effective linemates.

Mark Stone

Staff Grade: A (Highest A+, Lowest A)

Reader Grade: A (Highest A+, Lowest C+)

Last year: A+

Stone followed up his tremendous rookie campaign by being the team's best forward a second year in a row. Last year, he finished tied for the league lead in takeaways; this year, he finished with 128, 51 more than second place. Oh, and his pace of 0.81 points-per-game beat last year's. All this despite experiencing what many were calling a sophomore slump earlier in the season. I figure if he can appear to have an off-year and still do better than last year, he's a very very good player. As one reader pointed out about the Smith-Pageau-Stone line, he wasn't happy about being taken off the first line, so he turned his line into the first line. This guy is the future of the franchise, at least as a forward.

Kyle Turris

Staff Grade: B+ (Highest A, Lowest B)

Reader Grade: B+ (Highest A+, Lowest F)

Last year: A-

It was a tale of two seasons for Kyle Turris. He started the year with 12 points in 12 games, and silenced all the critics, even earning some comments that he should be considered for Team Canada at the World Cup. Then on December 5, his leg bent a way it's not supposed to, and his season fell apart. He still played 30 more games, but wasn't nearly as effective. The team eventually shut him down. Hopefully that start to the year wasn't an aberration, but rather a sign of things to come next season when he's healthy.

Mika Zibanejad

Staff Grade: B+ (Highest B+, Lowest A)

Reader Grade: B (Highest A+, Lowest D-)

Last year: A-

Z-bad has a reputation as a guy who leaves you wanting more, even though he put up 21 goals and 30 assists in 81 games this year, both career highs. 51 points left him tied for 37th in scoring among centres in the league, slotting him in as a solid second-line centre. There is potential for him to be more, but having a young, definite top-six centre still bodes well. Not to mention that he's still only 23, and is likely just entering the peak of his career.

Not ranked: Colin Greening (1 GP), Clarke MacArthur (4 GP), Buddy Robinson (3 GP), Phil Varone (1 GP)

And by popular request, histograms of how the reader voting went down:

(the average ranking is highlighted in orange)

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