Ottawa Senators Training Camp Check-in: October 10th

Let’s wrap this bad boy up!

With just four more days until the Ottawa Senators open their 2021-22 NHL season, let’s wrap up our training camp coverage so you can shift your focus to the main event (assuming you consider Ottawa Senators regular season hockey a main event in which case, I’m sorry and welcome to the club. This is where we go to cry).

  • I won’t bother even recapping last night’s loss as the pre-season ended on a sour note with  at least half a dozen core members of the Sens absent and the on-ice product reflecting that reality. It goes without saying that we all pray Thomas Chabot, Josh Norris, and Shane Pinto heal up for the season opener. Also I guess Brady Tkachuk signing a contract would be cool (and maybe we’ll find a miracle cure for Colin White’s bone-itis).
  • On a positive note, from last night’s listless loss, some stars did shine through with Anton Forsberg, Alex Formenton, Nick Paul, and Tyler Ennis all putting together solid performances. You have to appreciate the effort from all four of those players despite their guaranteed statuses heading into the regular season.
  • Speaking of Forsberg, he had a solid camp with okay numbers at five-on-five (0.22 GSAA) and exceptional results on the penalty kill (0.46 GSAA) despite an overall underwhelming save percentage (89.2). Matt Murray didn’t do terribly on the penalty kill (0.0 GSAA) while struggling at five-on-five (-0.58 GSAA) and his net body of work showed some promise (all situation 0.11 GSAA for Murray). In very small samples, Filip Gustavsson put up the best all situation numbers among Ottawa goaltenders with Mads Søgaard leading the way at five-on-five. The good news is the veterans will at least get the job done for now and the better news is that long term Ottawa has much better options.
  • To the surprise of no one who has followed Ottawa’s pre-season, Shane Pinto was the Senators’ best player at camp despite missing last night’s game. He did everything you could have asked for and more.
  • As a team, Ottawa ranked 29th and 27th in corsi-for percentage and expected goals-for percentage respectively at five-on-five. In the grand scheme of things, pre-season stats don’t mean anything but still—not great, Bob!
  • As a team, and anyone who watched the exhibition games can attest to this, Ottawa continued to struggle on the powerplay. Also unsurprisingly, Drake Batherson, Tim Stützle, Norris, and Chabot put up the best relative powerplay rates (I feel like someone is missing from that top unit though!) and Ennis did a rather admirable job relative to his peers. While I don’t have a tonne of praise to heap on Michael Del Zotto’s overall performance at camp, I genuinely like him as a powerplay quarterback for the second unit (0.91 xGF/60 rel.). And speaking of players who struggled at camp at five-on-five while somehow putting up great rates on the powerplay, Colin White trended towards contributing solidly on that second unit (2.39 xGF/60 rel.) before succumbing to injury.
  • While the powerplay didn’t quite take off at camp, Ottawa penalty kill looked good with Pinto, Formenton, Artem Zub, and Victor Mete putting up exceptional relative rates. Among prospects to watch for later in the season on the penalty kill, Parker Kelly (-4.36 xGA/60 rel.), Lassi Thomson (-0.44), and Jonathan Aspirot (-0.28) had strong auditions.
  • It should come as no surprise that the Chabot and Zub defensive pairing experiment succeeded as planned with those two leading Ottawa’s defenders in CF% rel. and xGF% rel. while taking zero combined penalties (!).
  • Ottawa has some good fringe options to call up to play defensive minutes even if they won’t contribute much in terms of offence. As I already mentioned about Aspirot on the penalty kill, he can also get the job done at five-on-five defensively based on the small sample we have. Among forwards, Kelly and Clarke Bishop also look like options and, yes, even Scott Sabourin put up good shut-down rates at camp.
  • Other random notes: Stützle, Erik Brännström, and Formenton showed their age a bit in terms of high turnover rates that I expect them to clean up this season, and I can’t say I noticed Zach Sanfordout there (prove me wrong Zach!)./

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