Sometimes you get clobbered by Pittsburgh, other times you defeat the two teams whose first round picks you control. So it goes for the Senators in this, the year of our lord, 2020. Mercifully we only have 13 more games this season and then the real fun begins. Realistically, Ottawa won’t “catch” Detroit for last spot in the standings. A two-three finish for Ottawa and San Jose could still happen though. In the meantime, let’s see who has padded their personal stats as the season draws towards its blissful conclusion.
First Star: Anthony Duclair
Will I tire of writing about the Duke? Probably not. The story never gets old. Every time we think we’ve seen the last highlight-reel goal from Duclair this season, he scores another one. This week Duclair roofed one from in tight against the Islanders with former teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau back-checking. Tony also had two primary assists and seven shots this week to pace the Senators’ offence despite missing the game against the Penguins. Duclair has already set career highs in goals and shots, and needs just four more points to hit his high-water mark set in 2015-16. Most impressively, he has taken half as many penalties as he did in that breakout season for the Coyotes.
Second Star: Jayce Hawryluk
For the uninitiated, Jayce Hawryluk had 64-points in 59-games for the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2013-14 before getting selected 32nd overall by the Panthers in the 2014 entry draft. Jayce racked up 95-points with Florida’s AHL affiliate Springfield over parts of four seasons and 15-points with the Cats over parts of two seasons before Pierre Dorion claimed him off waivers. Welcome to Ottawa, Jayce! This week Hawryluk scored a goal (his first as a Senator) and added two assists to bring his point total to six in nine games in Ottawa. As a Senator, Jayce has already matched his shot total and exceeded his point total from his stint with the Panthers this season (and in fewer games). As a natural right-winger who can also play centre, Hawryluk presents Dorion with a great option next season for organizational forward depth.
Third Star: Connor Brown
In a post-deadline paradigm, Brown has had to do some heavy lifting for DJ Smith. Leading Ottawa’s forwards in ice time this week, Brown had two goals on nine shots, and won half his face-offs for good measure. Brown still needs four more goals to match his 20-goal high he set in Toronto in 2016-17, although he has already set new highs in points and shots. Brown has become indispensable to Ottawa this season as he can play all types of minutes, take difficult assignments, and reduce the workload for younger forwards. Given Ottawa’s cap flexibility and projected roster for next season, Brown seems like a lock to keep the same role for DJ Smith at least until next spring.
Trending up: Thomas Chabot
While he hasn’t put up the big points or taken that next big step in his offensive development this year, Chabot has made the most of this lost season in Ottawa rounding out his game as he has decreased the amount of shot attempts conceded while on the ice and kept comparable rates of shot attempts-for. I find this particularly impressive as Chabot had a dependable partner in Dylan DeMelo last season and got saddled with Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey for much of this season. For anyone feeling concerned about Chabot’s performance this year based on his point-production, I would rest assured knowing that Thomas still has the potential to put up big numbers when surrounded with more talent and that he continues to progress as a capable young defender too. This week Chabot led Ottawa’s defenders in five-on-five corsi-for percentage and expected-goals percentage.
Trending Down: Andreas Englund
Someone has to come in last place, and this week Englund had the worst nerd stats among Senators with no points and just two shot attempts over three games. It doesn’t help that DJ Smith allotted just over thirty total minutes of ice-time to Englund this week. But sometimes you have to give a little to get a little, and Englund continues to get outplayed when he hits the ice for Ottawa. Injuries have created an NHL opportunity to Englund this year, although if Dorion brings back any combination of Mark Borowiecki, Ron Hainsey, and/or Mike Reilly (who still has a year on his contract) then Englund may have run out of runway in his career as a Senator, with Chabot, Christian Wolanin, Erik Brannstrom, Max Lajoie, and possibly Olle Alsing ahead on the depth chart.
Who to Watch: Christian Wolanin
Even if he didn’t have a game to remember, stats-wise, in San Jose, Wolanin has taken the long, arduous road back from serious injury and should feel immensely proud of that achievement. And even if he doesn’t put up the points down the stretch this season, it will do wonders for Wolanin to get back up to NHL speed and we can all look forward to a proper rookie campaign next fall as Wolanin’s one-way NHL contract with the Senators will take effect. Ottawa’s all-star media team put together an exceptional video for Wolanin’s return and you should do yourself a favour by checking it out!
- Artem Anisimov left the game against Pittsburgh with an injury and hasn’t played since
- Mark Borowiecki is still week-to-week with a high-ankle sprain
- Anders Nilsson may not play again this season as he recovers from a concussion
- JC Beaudin, Erik Brannstrom, Logan Brown, Joey Daccord, and Jonathan Davidsson remain sidelined for Belleville/