The NHL season is a week old, and I have decided to start a new series! Not sure how often I'll do this, but if it is something people like I can try it more often. Anyways, the Ottawa Senators have had a somewhat surprising start to their campaign. With no captain Erik Karlsson they have taken 6 of 8 points going 2-0-2 to start! With that in mind lets look at some Ups and Downs from the first week.
I mean this HAS to be the biggest up correct? They are missing the best dman in the world and still take 6/8 points and have not lost in regulation. Now granted, they lost to Detroit which is still very bad, but they took Washington to a SO and just came off of a destroying of the Calgary Flames. If someone told me they would start this well without Erik in the lineup I would have been overjoyed! Huge up.
Winning the xG% Battle
According to Corsica.hockey the Sens are currently sitting at just over 54% xG. That is a very good thing! They have won the xG in all 4 games they have played this year, including the Capitals game. That is something that didn't happen nearly as often last year. xG isn't everything, but again considering this lineup it's very promising that they have done this.
Everything with Chabot and Cleasson
Considering Chabot hadn't even started the year with Sens, everything he has done in his two games has been awesome. Chabot took advantage of an injury to Oduya and has played 13TOI and 15TOI in his 2 games. He registered his first assist tonight against the Flames! I'm honestly not sure how you take him out at this point if you're Boucher. He has definitely started to prove he is indeed an NHL player. As for Cleasson, FINALLY Guy Boucher has trusted him like I wanted him to all of last year. It is CRIMINAL that he only played 33 games for the Sens last year, and it is awesome to see him finally earn Bouchers trust. He has led the all Sens in TOI in one game already this year, and has led the defense in TOI multiple times. It's awesome to see, and I really hope he has shown Boucher he deserves to be playing along side EK when he gets back.
The (Somewhat!) Improved Play of Ceci and Boro
Both Ceci and Boro have looked better than I thought they would to be honest. Ceci now has as many goals in 4 games as he did all of last year (2 lol). But he has shown some flashed of offensive awareness. Now I am not a Ceci fan at all, and a big part of that is how he was deployed last year. That is the coaches fault more than his but he is NOT a shutdown dman. However shown tonight, if Guy actually allows him to jump up in the rush he can at least use the talent he has, so lets hope for that. As for Mark Borowiecki, who is this guy?! Now I'm not actually going to get super excited because it *is* just 4 games in and sample size is key, but he has looked like a whole new player. He is jumping up in the rush to do things other than make a completely needless hit, and he's even got a 52CF%! Now he has been playing a more sheltered role, but that's exactly what he should be doing. He has even drawn a few penalties from jumping in the rush! So good on him, if he keeps being used and plays like this I would really have no problem having Boro on a 3rd pairing.
Now, at the time I am writing this the Sens FINALLY scored on the PP going 2/7. That still really is not that good, and it was absolutely horrible to start the season, going 0 for like 20 to start the year. That just isn't okay. They have drawn WAY more than they have taken but my god they need to start scoring on these. You can't be a deadly team and be garbage on the PP. Good to see them score 2 tonight, I really like Chabot on there, and also I think it'll obviously get better with a return from Karlsson playing a full 2 minutes on it.
Now, if you don't like advanced stats you may be sighing right now, but the Sens 5v5 Corsi has still been a little worrying. They are 18th in the league at 47.76% at 5v5. Obviously 18th is just below middle pack, which is alright. But seeing it go above 48 and dare I say 49% for once would be very nice to see. This past game against Calgary score effects had some effect on it, but it would still be nice for the long term to see Ottawa improve on that.
Usage of Players
This is a bit of a down to Guy Boucher. I was going to make it 2 different categories and say the over usage of Thompson/Pyatt and underuse of rookies, but Chabot kicked that trend. Listen, I get "rookies need to prove they belong" and so on and so forth. But Boucher has put both Brown and Formenton in spots where it's hard/almost impossible to succeed. You can NOT prove you deserve a shot if you only play 3-5 minutes a night, it's useless. It is the same crap with Colin White last year, these guys would definitely better than Thompson and Pyatt as full time in the lineup. The other reason they can't succeed is when you play on a 4th line with Thompson and Pyatt, guess what is going to happen? NOTHING. It's like being surprised Curtis Lazar couldn't do anything with Chris Neil (although I think these guys are better than Lazar). If you're not even going to use a guy like Formenton just send him back to the OHL and let him play top minutes there, you have guys in the AHL to play 3-5 minutes a night if that is what you really want. As for Pyatt and Thompson, just ugh. Still not sure why Thompson was signed and why we gave him 3.5 mil and a 10 team NTC, but oh well.
Overall there is definitely things to fix, but the Sens have played pretty damn well i would say, especially with no Erik Karlsson. So good on them! Also a quick up to Andy who has been good as always, soooo underrated. The Sens start here without 65 has actually gave me a little bit of optimism, which I really didn't have a bunch of at the beginning of the year. It'll be amazing to get our captain back, but so far I think the Sens have done a good job holding down the fort without him. Let me know what you think either here or on Twitter! And I'll see you soon!
My name is Alex, this is my page, all thoughts are mine and feel free to comment on what you think! Enjoy!