Mid-Season Report Cards: Forwards
We didn’t like the look of “48/82-Through the Season Report Cards”
With the all-star break upon us, the team here at Silver Seven Sens has a chance to evaluate the performance of all of the Senators players thus far. Today we’re covering the forwards, tomorrow it’ll be the defence and goaltending, and the day after will be coaching and management. A two-part roundtable and the results of fan voting (which you can do at the bottom of this page) will be featured on Thursday and Friday. Let’s dive into the grades!
- Not graded due to a lack of games played: Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, Jordan Szwarz, Max Veronneau/
Artem Anisimov (Staff Grade: C-)
- 30 GP, 8 G, 3A, 45.76 CF%, 46.91 xGF%/
Anisimov’s actually on pace for a 20-goal season. That being said, he hasn’t been overly impressive on the ice. Maybe it’s just the stigma of being an overpaid veteran player but he’s just kind of...there, you know?
Rudolfs Balcers (Staff Grade: B-)
- 7 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 51.30 CF%, 60.11 xGF%/
While it’s unwise to put stock into shot metrics to judge a seven-game sample size, Balcers hasn’t looked out of place with the big club thus far. D.J. Smith has yet to fully trust him, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Balcers seizes an opportunity to play and carves out a permanent role on this team.
Drake Batherson (Staff Grade: B-)
- 9 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 39.41 CF%, 37.05 xGF%/
Despite a poor showing against the Flames, it’s clear that Batherson’s time in the AHL this season has been great for his development. Don’t let the lack of offence discourage you, that will come with time, as well as better line mates.
Jean-Cristophe Beaudin (Staff Grade: C-)
- 22 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 44.41 CF%, 49.31 xGF%/
Beaudin clearly isn’t a prospect projected to make a big impact in the NHL, as Colorado was willing to swap him for Max McCormick last season. In a season like this one, having no other options to play on the fourth line isn’t a big deal, but his performance is still easy to grade.
Mikkel Boedker (Staff Grade: D-)
- 8 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 39.51 CF%, 48.67 xGF%/
After a disappointing 2018-19 campaign, Boedker has struggled to find his way into too many games this year. From what we’ve seen of him so far, he’s been a prototypical depth forward, someone a team would like to have at league-minimum salary, not so much at $4M.
Connor Brown (Staff Grade: B)
- 48 GP, 10 G, 21 A, 46.69 CF%, 48.64 xGF%/
Brown’s penalty killing and dominance on the boards have already been documented, but another asset of his is his skating, which has been on full display in recent games. His shot is a weakness in his game but he’ll put up assists alongside a goal scorer.
Logan Brown (Staff Grade: B)
- 23 GP, 1 G, 7 A, 49.15 CF%, 55.99 xGF%/
Brown’s numbers look really good, but allow me to ruin your day by revealing that his CF% and xGF% drop to 40.11% and 45.34% respectively, without Brady Tkachuk. Nevertheless, Brown’s vision is superb, and he’s looked like he belongs in the NHL during several of his games played. If he can skate harder at a more consistent pace, he’s bound to find success as a top-six centre.
Filip Chlapik (Staff Grade: B)
- 23 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 52.05 CF%, 56.21 xGF%/
Chlapik is looking more like an NHL player with each game he plays. His offensive ability has yet to translate from his time in the QMJHL, but he’s physical, relentless on the forecheck, and has earned the trust of the head coach, seeing an increase in ice-time since his recent call-up.
Anthony Duclair (Staff Grade: A-)
- 47 GP, 21 G, 12 A, 45.91 CF%, 49.69 xGF%/
The Duke has been on a cold streak, with just four assists in his last ten games, but we’ve seen a return of his top tier skating in recent weeks. He had a similar stretch at the start of the year as well, but I still think a five-year deal at 5.5 million per year would be a bargain for his best years.
Tyler Ennis (Staff Grade: B+)
- 48 GP, 11 G, 15 A, 48.40 CF%, 50.62 xGF%/
Whether he's brought back on another one-year deal or traded for a draft pick at the deadline, signing Ennis will be seen as a wonderful move for the Senators. I’m shocked Toronto didn’t bring him back this year.
Vladislav Namestnikov (Staff Grade: C)
- 43 GP, 10 G, 11 A, 43.32 CF%, 45.86 xGF%/
It’s safe to say that Pierre Dorion ended up making a good trade here, as long as he can flip Namestnikov at the deadline for a 3rd rounder or more. He’s put up third-line offence and is a trusted penalty killer of Smith’s, even if he hasn’t been effective at even-strength.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (Staff Grade: A)
- 46 GP, 19 G, 12 A, 47.08 CF%, 50.77 xGF%/
Pageau’s been dynamite at even-strength and on the penalty kill this season, even with an inflated 18.4% shooting percentage propping up his goal-scoring numbers. Having him under contract the next few years will help the team be competitive, but a third 1st rounder in the upcoming draft would be pretty awesome as well.
Nick Paul (Staff Grade: B)
- 38 GP, 3 G, 8 A, 45.27 CF%, 45.89 xGF%/
His injury was tragic, especially after how hard he worked to carve out a permanent NHL role this season. Paul’s a dependable fourth-liner who not only will chip in offensively at a decent rate, but also has some unique tools at his disposal — most notably his 105 mph cannon.
Bobby Ryan (Staff Grade: C)
- 16 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 52.61 CF%, 53.42 xGF%/
Ryan spent some time as a healthy scratch before entering the Player Assistance Program early in the season. His underlying numbers have been great this season, however his skating and shot have fallen off a cliff. He’ll certainly be playing a role for us next season, we’ll see if it’s anything more than press-box warmer.
Scott Sabourin (Staff Grade: D)
- 16 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 36.84 CF%, 35.50 xGF%/
He’s been a great story this season, but his contributions on the fourth line have been abysmal. I don’t think anyone’s pining for him to be re-signed, especially with Anisimov and Ryan on the books for next season.
Chris Tierney (Staff Grade: C+)
- 48 GP, 8 G, 17 A, 46.29 CF%, 47.80 xGF%/
Despite putting up the offence of a capable third-line centre, Tierney has been incredibly streaky, switching between invisible and semi-dominant more times than I can count. He could go off in the second half, and he could fade. Nobody knows.
Brady Tkachuk (Staff Grade: A-)
- 48 GP, 15 G, 12 A, 50.31 CF%, 54.96 xGF%/
The bulk of the Senators’ offence goes through Tkachuk; it’s astounding how much his presence helps the team. He’s been a joy to watch on and off the ice, and Dorion will look to lock him up long-term as soon as possible.
Colin White (Staff Grade: C)
- 41 GP, 5 G, 9 A, 47.15 CF%, 49.45 xGF%/
White has recently shown a level of play worthy of his contract, but he’s going to have to work even harder after the break to turn his 2019-20 season into anything other than a disappointment.
Now, it’s your turn! Since we’re going to show the reader voting results this Friday, we’re going to have you guys grade all of the Ottawa Senators in the same poll, not just the forwards. The poll is available here and will close Thursday morning. While you’re at it, feel free to tell us what you think of our grades in the comments! Thanks for reading!