Seeing as we are over the quarter mark of the season I figured it’s about time to check in and see how the new guys have done for us. We have 9 players that have never played for us or have limited experience in our lineup which is a substantial amount. This somewhat explains the limited success we’ve had up to date and also the winning/losing streaks we have experienced not only this season but also last season. Below I will rate how each of the players has played and also impacted the Senators.
Patrick Wiercioch – Patrick has played well for the Senators, in spurts it seems he is taking a little while to get used to the level of play in the NHL. Although you can see that with some time he will definitely be an NHL player. He has good vision and a good first pass out of the defensive zone which we have seen a couple times. With 4 assists and a plus 2 rating he is playing well for the limited ice time he is receiving. He seems to be gaining more trust from Paul MacLean and plays well on the power play. He has the potential slot into a top 4 pairing.
Andre Benoit – The captain for the Binghamton Senators is playing fairly well. The reason he hasn’t been in the NHL before was due to his size, but after playing in the minors and a stint in Europe he seems to have found a way to be effective in the NHL. Like Wiercioch has great vision on the ice and has a great first pass and has the ability to play on the Power play. If he can stick in the NHL he will slot into a top 6 pairing at best. In 10 GP for Ottawa he has 3 assists and a plus 1 rating.
Marc Methot – After the trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for Nick Foligno, he was expected to be paired with Erik Karlsson. He has since stayed there and has filled in quite nicely with the Norris trophy winner. Some had some doubts be could play where Filip Kuba was before but he has since silenced the critics. Marc skates well and isn’t afraid to hit anyone, he plays with an edge that allows Karlsson to have more space. He isn’t expected to light up the stats sheet, but plays really well on the first pairing. He has 3 assists and a plus 3 rating thus far. He is a top 4 pairing defenceman and will likely end up there in the next year or two.
Mike Lundin – Mike has now played in 3 games with Ottawa since his return from the injury reserve. He has played up to expectation, I believe he is maybe ever so slightly above a league average replacement. Doubt the Sens resign him at seasons end, but he will fill in for us as a top 6 pairing or 7th defenceman this season. He has no points and is even on the season.
Mark Borowiecki – Mark has played 6 games for the big club so far, the only reason he was sent down was due to a numbers game and also to get him playing and keep developing rather than sit in the press box. He has played well for the Sens, definitely plays with an edge. He isn’t afraid to get into any rough situations and will defend his teammates. Plays well defensively but don’t expect him to light up the stat sheet either. Will develop into a top 6 defenceman for the Senators. Also worth noting is that he has 6 points, is a plus 14 and has 102 penalty minutes down in Bingo.
Jakob Silfverberg – Jakob is taking a little while to develop in the NHL, only had limited experience playing in North America this season and after a good handful of games was starting to adjust and produce at a great pace in Binghamton. He is paired in a top 6 role and is surrounded with good players which should only help his development, but has struggled since the season began. He has shown some flashes of skill but fans should be patient with him as he will probably eventually become a top player and with his potential should remain on the Senators top 6. Jakob has 2 goals and 1 assists so far and is a plus 2.
Mika Zibanejad – Mika was recalled while already being in Ottawa to visit his girlfriend at the time, to replace Jason Spezza‘s spot on the roster. He started in the bottom 6 in the first couple games and was eventually promoted to top 6 duty where he should have been all along. He did have some success playing with Jim O’Brien and Erik Condra, that combination was playing very well against other opponents bottom 6. Has potential to be a top 6 player for the Senators and has played well since he was recalled. Well enough that Bryan Murray never sent him down and let that initial first year burn off of his entry level contract. Mika now has a goal and 2 assists in 7 games played and is a plus 1. He was seen practicing 20 minutes later than any other player today as he will be on the first line tonight.
Guillaume Latendresse – Guillaume is right were he seems to be every year, on the injured reserve watching from the sidelines. He has managed to play 6 games and has 1 assist.
When the season started he was playing along side of Daniel Alfredsson and Kyle Turris. He had quite a few chances to score his first goal as an Ottawa Senator but could never find the back of the net. He has a great shot and isn’t afraid to hit anyone, he should be an effective player if he could stay healthy. If the latter holds true he should really help the Sens while we wait for Spezza to get back.
Stephane Da Costa – Stephane played his first game this season against the Sabres on February 5th. He has created some chances with his speed and hands. He seems to be having a hard time adjusting to the speed of the NHL and needs to gain some strength to compensate for his size, to stay in Ottawa. He has yet to record a point this season but we have seen some small sample of success thus far. He has been effective on the 4th line, since he was recalled but i’m not sure that’s were he belongs to have success in the NHL.
That is it for the review of our “New” players. Since we have seen what our other players bring to the table, there will be a good chunk of pressure on these players to succeed as they will likely determine the success the Ottawa Senators will have with our star players. Along with these players we will need players like Milan Michalek to start to produce something, if the Sens want to start winning games on a consistent basis and make the playoffs.