I have to admit, there are a ton of narratives I’m intrigued by heading into the 2022-23 season. Who will the Senators bring in this offseason to help? Who will be on their way out? But one thought surrounds one of Pierre Dorion’s better professional acquisitions in Mathieu Joseph.
As you all know, Joseph was the key piece of the Nick Paul trade and was arguably the quickest to pay dividends of any NHL level player Dorion has acquired during his time in Ottawa.
Joseph came to the Senators as a key depth piece to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s historic pair of wins. As a member of the Lightning, Joseph spent most of his time as a depth player, playing bottom six minutes and admirably putting up bottom six point production. There’s no denying that while he wasn’t in the spot light in Tampa, he was certainly an important piece of the team that brought two straight championships home to the state of Florida.
Turn the page and Joseph gets an opportunity to join a team where there is plenty of just that: opportunity. With injuries and an overall weak roster, Joseph came to the Sens and was afforded the opportunity to play bigger minutes with better linemates - including a feature on the top line with Josh Norris and Brady Tkachuk. With the added opportunity, Joseph was able to contribute 12 points in just 11 games, coming just seven points shy of his 2020-21 totals in 55 (!) fewer games.
I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect a 25 year old to miraculously turn into a point per game player, but do the Senators have a true top six winger in Joseph? He’s only ever played in the bottom six prior to his arrival in the Nation’s Capital but when you play on a team as strong as Tampa Bay, does a guy like Joseph ever get a true shot to prove he can play in the top six? Probably not.
From his underlying numbers since 2018, Joseph has an incredibly strong resume at even strength. Through over 1600 minutes, he was a positive contributor in virtually every scenario. So his ability to factor in while he’s on the ice has always been there.
There’s an argument to be made, based on a small sample size, that Joseph is a top six winger. You can just as easily say, at 25, he is what he is and his 11 games in Ottawa last season were a mere blip. A third just as believable option is that he’s somewhere in between - a middle six winger who can be bumped up the lineup when injuries occur but who you don’t want to rely on in top six minutes for 82 games.
So, I ask you, who do you think Mathieu Joseph truly is on the Ottawa Senators?
Who is the real Mathieu Joseph?
|True top six talent||83|
|He is what he is (bottom six)||27|