Sens promote Justin Peters, re-assign Zac Bierk

Peters now NHL goalie coach, Bierk becomes a scout

Sens promote Justin Peters, re-assign Zac Bierk
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

The Senators announced some personnel moves on Monday, with two notable moves taking place. First, goaltender coach Zac Bierk was re-assigned within the organization. Bierk had been the goalie coach since April 2021, when he was hired to replace Pierre Groulx. He will now serve in a scouting and development role. While most Sens fans would say goaltending wasn't the biggest problem with this team, it definitely was an issue. Of all 87 goalies to play in the NHL this season, the Sens goalies rank 73rd (Forsberg) and 78th (Korpisalo) in Goals Saved Above Average per 60 at -0.45 and -0.61 (all situations, via Natural Stat Trick), meaning that they're allowing about an extra goal every two games vs. an average NHL goalies — even after accounting for Ottawa's porous defence. Though it could be argued that this was a lateral move, Steve Staios' comments on the move suggest it's not:

Zac is exceptionally dedicated. However, it is our belief that the time has come for a fresh perspective.

Meanwhile, you may remember Justin Peters, who is only 37 and last played in the NHL in the 2016-17 season. He became the B-Sens' goalie coach in February 2021, right after retiring from professional hockey. Considering the success Ottawa's goalies have seen in the AHL—especially Mads Søgaard, currently sporting a .920 and 2.48 this season—it's no surprise Peters is getting an NHL shot. Staios' comments on Peters were a little surprising to me though:

Justin Peters is highly regarded and will bring strong leadership qualities to our group. He’s deserving of this opportunity. We’re excited to welcome him to Ottawa.

It's curious he mentions his leadership qualities, rather than his qualities as a teacher or coach. Still, I'm hopeful that this is a good move. I do think most coaching positions need to be switched up every few years, and this is likely another step in the Staios/Andlauer era of getting their guys in place.

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