Ottawa Senators First Quarter Review by Jamie Gilcig – The Bubble May Have Burst

jg2CFN – It’s time to give the Ottawa Sens their Quarter Season report.   The team is currently 10-9-4 with 24 points and a -2 goal differential.

Essentially they are a lower end bubble team which isn’t the best spot to be in. They are three points out of a wild card spot behind Florida and Washington.  The team has been drifting downwards and is having trouble winning on the road. Frankly Craig Anderson has been the difference this year and he’s no Spring chicken and with this heavy shot load and injury history you can’t count on a play off spot unless things change.

GM Bryan Murray is fighting the good fight against 4th Stage Cancer, but still is cash limited budget wise.  His actual trade assets are limited and there are few areas where you can trade a good quality player without replacing that need on the team.

The Good

Erik Karlsson is healthy; but logging way too many minutes.  He’s averaging nearly 28 minutes per game and has 17 points in 23 matches.  He leads the team with a -7 rating.   The scary thing is that 11 of his points have come on the power play.   He also leads the team with 89 shots.  It might even make sense to consider trading Karlsson in this weak Defensive market if the Sens could land three elements as depth is hurting the squad.  They have bodies, but they aren’t getting results.     B-

Craig Anderson.  Anderson and Lehner are pretty much splitting ice time, but it’s clear who’s having the better season with Anderson notching a 2.43 GAA and .932 SV% (3rd in the NHL).  He also has two shut outs.    B+

Alex Chaisson.    I actually didn’t think Chaisson would do much for Ottawa, but he has 11 points in 20 games while getting second line minutes.    B

Mike Hoffman.    It’s hard to get excited about a potential 40 point season, but this has been a breakthrough year for Hoffman so far who is second on the team with 7 goals, all at even strength while only averaging 13 minutes per night.   B+

Cody Ceci.  Not overwhelming, but continued steady growth as his role on the team expands.   He has a +3 rating with 9 points in 23 games.  B

Eric Gryba.   The big D Man is at +2 with 56 penalty minutes.   He’s on pace for a 10 point season with 175 hits. B-

Fair to Middling

Clarke MacArthur & Kyle Turris.   Not bad; not great.  They are the number one line on this team and have been holding up, but will need to produce more on 5 on 5 if the team has any hope this season.    C

The Bad

Bobby Ryan.   New big contract.  Hurt and dismal results so far this season.   13 points in 21 games with 7 on the PP.   The team needs Ryan to earn his pay cheque for them to have any hope.  C-

Milan Michalek.  Three year deal signed.  Results so far….   7 points in 22 games.   He’s not shooting, scoring or hitting as well this season.  D

Mika Zibenajad is only 21, but this season has been a step back so far from the talented young gun who had higher expectations.   Very strong on the puck, but not closing the deal.   Mika needs to up the ante.   Has been laying on the body and is on pace for 135 hits.    C

Erik Condra and Colin Greening.  Both available for trade, but both of not much value.    D

The Farm

Chris Wideman is putting up points, but he’s a smallish offensive D man and right now the Sens biggest problems is playing actual defense and lowering their shots against.   11 goals and 11 assists in 20 games so far for the Baby Sens.  B+

Coaching & GM

Paul MacLean.   Coaches get judged on wins and getting the most value out of their roster.   This quarter  MacLean hasn’t sparkled.   C-

Bryan Murray.   Considering his health issues the team is rolling along.   The Ryan deal isn’t looking that good right now.  It may have served the team better to move him for assets, but then again he might not have been offered enough for that to make sense.   He’s giving “the kids” their chance to shine, but realistically he didn’t have many options.     B


Ottawa is on the bubble.   Their core is locked up.  The problem is that their core right now isn’t good enough to contend for the cup and might not be good enough to even make the play offs.

They are not in a blow it up mode or Connor McDavid sweeps, but they do have some veteran assets that could be moved to aim for next season and some contracts to dump.   If Marc Bergevin could find a buyer for Rene Bourque and Travis Moen surely the Sens can find a home for a few of their extra pieces?

What do you think Sens fans?  You can post your comments below.

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