After looking at the goaltenders, which received excellent grades, and then the defensemen, who for the most part passed with flying colours, it is now time to look at the forwards. This group suffered from injuries of their own, including a long-term injury to their best offensive talent. How did the rest of the group fare in the absence? Lets find out.
At 40 years old, Alfredsson was slated to be a top 6 forward and a contributor. The days of him carrying a team on his back were supposed to be over, and he was ready to fill the role of mentor and chip in on a regular basis to the offence. That all has changed and he is being counted on to be the catalyst rather than a piece of the puzzle. He is second on the team in scoring and playing more minutes than he should. Showed tremendous leadership in a tough time.
STAT LINE: 23 GP, 5G, 7A, 12PTS, 25 PIMs
Erik Condra – B
If Condra could convert on half of his golden opportunities he would have an A+, but his lack of finish is reminiscent of the player who wore #22 just prior to him, Chris Kelly. Neither has much finish, although the effort can never be questioned. An excellent penalty killer and part of one of the best units in the league.
STAT LINE: 24 GP, 3G, 6A, 9 PTS, +6 (team high)
Da Costa was brought up from Binghamton to provide some offense, but like many of his Senators teammates he dropped the ball, although he wasn’t really given the opportunity on a consistent basis to do so. Was sent back to Binghamton after a 9 game trial to continue to hone his game, but could get recalled at any time.
STAT LINE: 9GP, 1G, 1A, 2 PTS, -3
Kaspars Daugavins – C-
A tireless worker, Daugavins also is a key component of the Senators’ penalty kill. Sat as a healthy scratch for the last Senators game as he has done on 8 occasions this season, so his contribution could obviously be more consistent in the coaches eyes. Scored the shootout winner against the Rangers but is still looking for his first goal of the season.
STAT LINE: 16 GP, 0G, 2A, 2PTS, -6
Dave Dziurzynski – C
Now most well known for getting knocked out in a fight, Dziurzynski had actually fit in well on the checking line with Smith and Neil. His status going forward is in question after suffering the concussion against the Leafs. Skating is an issue for him going forward and when all the forwards are healthy he will find himself back in Bingo.
STAT LINE: 10GP, 2G, 0A, 2 PTS, 13 PIMs
Derek Grant – C
Called up along with Dziurzynski, the centre got less of an opportunity and really didn’t provide much at either end of the ice. Was returned to Binghamton after sitting as a healthy scratch for 5 games during his stint, in order to make room for the return of Milan Michalek.
STAT LINE: 5GP, 0G, 0A, 0PTS, 54.8% on faceoffs
Colin Greening – C
When given the opportunity to fill an offensive role, he struggled, apart from a 3 game stretch where he had almost half of his 11 points. Still, he sits 3rd among Ottawa forwards in scoring. Still, he was pointless in 8 straight games before being sat down as a healthy scratch against the Maple Leafs on Hockey Day In Canada.
STAT LINE: 23GP, 4G, 7A, 11PTS, +4
So far, the gamble hasn’t paid off as Latendresse, who was supposed to be a top-6 forward for the Senators. Even when he was in the lineup, he wasn’t able to keep pace with the game and then he left the lineup with whiplash and has not returned since.
STAT LINE: 6GP, 0G, 1A, 1PT, +1
Milan Michalek – D
After Spezza went down with back surgery, Michalek also disappeared, which is unacceptable for a player of his pedigree. Five of his 9 points were scored when Spezza was still in the lineup, and he went a stretch of 6 games with only 1 assist to show for it. He then missed 10 games with a knee injury of his own that didn’t help matters.
STAT LINE: 14GP, 2G, 7A, 9PTS, +5
Chris Neil – B
His offensive output notwithstanding, Neil has done his job for the most part. He leads the team in penalty minutes, hits and 2 of his 3 goals have been game winners. He is also a part of the line that has been tasked with shutting down opposing top lines, which they have done, especially at home.
STAT LINE: 24GP, 3G, 3A, 6PTS, 73 PIMS, 90 hits +2
Jim O’Brien – B+
Somehow, the former first round pick has managed to find the back of the net 5 times, more than any other forward not named Daniel Alfredsson. Even that hasn’t been enough to keep him in the lineup every night, as he has sat out 4 games as a scratch.
STAT LINE: 20 GP, 5G, 0A, 5PTS, -2
Peter Regin – C
A lack of consistency and a chest injury have plagued the player who stood to benefit the most from the injury to Spezza. He had the opportunity to show that he can be a top 2 centre in the league and that simply hasn’t happened. He has shown flashes, but not enough.
STAT LINE: 17GP, 0G, 2A, 2P, -3, 40.2% FO, 1 SO winner
Again, consistency is a factor for Silfverberg. He has shown top end skill with a shootout dandy as well as a shorthanded roof-job, but he doesn’t display that often enough. Still, he has been a physical factor at times and is not afraid to shoot the puck, leading all forwards in shots on goal. Has also shone as a penalty killer and is good at both ends of the ice.
STAT LINE: 24GP,3G, 3A, 6PTS, +5, 63SOG, 1 SO winner
Jason Spezza – A
Spezza was continuing where he left off last season before the back injury derailed his year. A point per game and plus rating had him leading the team, then the back surgery happened. The team is trying valiantly to keep its head above water until his anticipated return in late March.
STAT LINE: 5GP, 2G, 3A, 5PTS, +3, 57.1% FO
Mark Stone – INCOMPLETE
Stone played just one game after being called up from Binghamton and will have a chance to create more of a body of work in the upcoming games.
Kyle Turris – D-
Perhaps the most disappointing member of the class, had the chance to break out as the #1 centre with Spezza gone for two months. He has not scored since Spezza’s injury and the drought has now reached 20 games. He does have 8 assists in that time but the production has simply not been there, and he has not been able to handle facing opposing shutdown players and is pushed around too easily. A big disappointment, even though he leads the team in scoring.
STAT LINE: 24GP, 4G, 9A, 13PTS, 51 SOG
Mika Zibanejad – B
Just 19 years old, Zibanejad has filled any number of roles from winger to first line centre to fourth line centre to healthy scratch. Started slowly but is finding his groove. Like many young players just needs to find a level of consistency. Probably better suited as a winger but has filled a need up the middle, although needs to improve facoffs.
STAT LINE: 18 GP, 5G, 3A, 8PTS, 43.0% FO
So obviously the forward unit hasn’t been pulling its weight this season as the very young and inexperienced group struggles to find an offensive rhythm. They have been relying on the defense and goaltending to keep them afloat, but that can only carry a team so far. At some point different players need to step it up, because it is the players that you expect to excel that have dropped the ball.
We will see what the second half of the season brings, and perhaps some of the forwards can improve their grades.