View the original article on Last Word On Hockey: 2019 Ottawa Senators Quarterly Review

OTTAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 24: Ottawa Senators Left Wing Brady Tkachuk (7) celebrates his goal during second period National Hockey League action between the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators on February 24, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators just played their 62nd game of the year. Meaning, they are officially 75% finished with the season. So, this means another addition of the 2019 Ottawa Senators Review. If you missed the last two, you can find them here and here. Now, let’s take a look at how games 42-62 have gone for Ottawa.

Comparison

Let’s start with their record. The Senators entered this part of the season going 15-21-5 which put them in the last place in the NHL. Since they have gone 7-14-0, which keeps them in last. However, their play has actually improved despite mediocre results.

Unfortunately, Corsica Hockey is down as of right now, so finding stats of a certain date is harder. However, entering this part of the season they were dead last in CF%. Since the last article, they have ranked 23rd in CF% with 48%. Their xGF% had improved to almost league average over the past 20 games as well. The 2019 Ottawa Senators started to find some strides and play slightly better as the season went on.

So, let’s take a look at some high and low points from the back part of this 2019 Ottawa Senators season.

Nilsson Trade

The Ottawa Senators desperately needed goalie help when Craig Anderson went down with a concussion. So, Pierre Dorion went out and acquired Anders Nilsson from the Vancouver Canucks. Most fans were happy about this because of the fact that it saw Tom Pyatt go the other way. Nothing personally against Pyatt, however, he was a coach favourite and way overused.

However, Nilsson came in and made this trade look great for Dorion. He has helped out the Sens a lot in net, giving them a chance in most games he is in. He has cooled down recently, but according to Evolving-Hockey, Nilsson has still saved 5.7 Goals Above Replacement with Sens. This is a very good thing especially considering the short amount of time he has been with Ottawa.

Brady Tkachuk

Brady Tkachuk has been a big up for Ottawa all year. While he only had 11 points in 21 games during this past stretch, he has been one of the best forwards Ottawa has had. He has had the best possession numbers of any Sens forward in this stretch. Even better than Mark Stone, granted, Stone had some tougher minutes due to the 11F7D system.

However, overall, Tkachuk has been a lot of fun to watch and should be something to look forward to the rest of the year. Sens fans are hoping Tkachuk can keep growing even if his teammates are being moved. It will become a really interesting situation to see how Tkachuk’s play fairs without Stone.

Upcoming Rookies

This one is a bit of a cop-out, however, for 7-14 teams, exceptions need to be made. Maybe the most exciting part over the past little bit has been how good Ottawa’s prospects have looked. Filip Chlapik has come up and played really well in his short time here.

Rudolfs Balcers earned a shot with the big club. While he hasn’t been anything really special, he has provided a spark here and there. Whether or not you want to call Nick Paul a rookie is up to you, but he looked good in a depth role.

Logan Brown and Drake Batherson torched the AHL for a few weeks, which ultimately led to their call-ups. Christian Wolanin will likely get an extended look with the club too. All three of those guys haven’t played a ton yet but has players are moved out and trust is developed they will likely see a rise in minutes.

Either way, the young guys are something Sens fans have been really happy to keep an eye on. As well, they will be a key piece in drawing viewers for the remainder of the season.

Goal Scoring

The 2019 Ottawa Senators goal scoring has taken a hit. While their start was obviously unsustainable, the rates have fallen lower then the team would like. The scoring is what kept them out of trouble. But since the last article the Sens rank 21st in Goals For per 60 (GF/60) in all situations.

They also rank 23rd in GF/60 at 5v5. These numbers are not horrible by any means, and given what we saw about their improved play it’s more due to bad luck than anything else. However, with Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene already traded and a very likely Stone trade as well, it’s hard to see goal scoring getting any better. Factor in the fact that the goals need to be there for Ottawa to win, and it has been a low point.

Defensive Issues

This has now been a topic in all three parts of this series. However, you just can’t leave it off. The 2019 Ottawa Senators haven’t been good enough defensively. They rank 30th in CA/60. As well, Money Puck has them as the second worst in xGA per game this season.

They often find themselves losing players around their net and getting burnt on the rush. It’s not just the common names either. Players like Mark Borowiecki and Cody Ceci struggle. However, guys like Dylan DeMelo and Thomas Chabot find themselves getting lost as well. Overall, the Sens need to try and find a way to tighten up defensively that doesn’t also result in them losing any kind of goal scoring.

Saying Farewell

I could go on about some of the struggles this team has had. However, one of the lowest parts of this year is right now. Fans having to say goodbye to favourites such as Dzingel, Duchene and Stone. Other names such as Ceci and Mikkel Boedker are on the trade block too.

Seeing all of the big three leave will be tough for Sens fans. At the time of writing, Stone has not been moved. But, by the time this is published it will be Trade Deadline Day and it seems like a given he will be moved.

For many, watching the big 3 guys made this team fun. They were always a huge part of the team wins. While the returns will be quite interesting, saying farewell to these guys will be tough. They were the main reason lots of people watched the 2019 Ottawa Senators.

Overall, the last 21 games haven’t been what Ottawa wanted. While they actually played alright, they just didn’t get the results. Now, it’s time to see some big names move. The last 20 games of this season may be tough to watch. The team has already gone 0-3, scoring just one goal since scratching the big players.

Without their first rounder, it’s hard to feel excited about the next stretch of games. However, looking at some of the returns and a chance to watch some of the young guys for the rest of the season should keep some fans tuned in.

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