Ottawa Senators: Thoughts from October. Early Success and Struggles.


Oct 25, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie

Robin Lehner

(40) makes a toe save on a shot from the New Jersey Devils. The Devils defeated the Senators 3-2 in overtime at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The season started October 9th and since then Ottawa has played 9 games. Kicking off the month was a busy press conference day, involving the likes of Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan. Ottawa’s start has been fast and favourable with an emotional day for the City of Ottawa in the middle. Here’s a look back at what was the month of October for the Ottawa Senators


The Season got off to a quick start for the Senators, winning 4 of their first 5 games. Taking important games over Colorado and Tampa Bay is a feat you cannot ignore as a Senators fan.

Goaltending has been stellar for the Senators as they continue to be in the picture in terms of the East with a 5-2-2 record during October.

Shots allowed are still a problem for the Senators as Ottawa currently sits 27th in the league in CF% at 46.7%. Ottawa’s SA60 (shots against per 60) is a league 29th overall at 37.5, where only Buffalo has allowed more at 37.6.

If you believe anything like Bobby Ryan does, however you may consider dismissing those stats. Ryan claimed via Twitter last night that “fancy” stats are “junk”.

Well I’m not completely sold on Analytics or Corsi myself, I think they are a good way to calculate a team’s possession and can indeed contribute to a team’s success.  Just look at the best Corsi teams in the league and see where they have finished (of course, there are always outliers)


It’s not hard to tell Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner have been Ottawa’s MVP’s during the early season. With the two splitting starts, Anderson has held a .934 Sv% while Lehner has held a .939 Sv%. Robin Lehner has yet to lose a game in regulation and lived up to any hype placed on him coming in.

Ottawa’s goaltending may be playing at an unsustainable level, but only time will tell as to whether the duo can keep up their fantastic play. On a side note, Robin Lehner’s wife gave birth earlier this week and we saw B-Sens goalie Andrew Hammond called up to serve as backup. Congrats to the Lehner family on their baby, Lennox.


I have really liked Paul MacLean‘s usage this season. With what he’s got, a mediocre defensive core Maclean has been able to make the best of it. Chris Phillips has mostly succeeded in his role beside Erik Karlsson and Ottawa’s 2nd pairing with Cody Ceci has been good. Meanwhile Ottawa’s 3rd pairing of Borowiecki – Gryba has been consistent and steady. Despite a few annoying penalties, they have done a good job thus far.

The real question marks have been Jared Cowen and Patrick Wiercioch. Cowen saw 5 consecutive games in the press box and Wiercioch has seen his time away as well. With either of the two filling in on the LH 2nd pairing, or sliding into Borowiecki’s LH side on the 3rd pairing, the rotation is there and is available.

Cody Ceci has been getting better ever since he stepped onto NHL ice. His poise with the puck is as great as any other 20-year-old defenceman and I like what I see in his game.

Corsi numbers and analytics didn’t go his way early on, but he’s been confident with the puck and has been great on the rush. 4 assists in 9 games is great to see Ceci passing and completing plays, he’ll look to put the puck in one of these games and continue to be a 0.40 – 0.50 PPG defenceman this season.

Mar 5, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci (5) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Methot is still battling a back injury, but his return to the Senators lineup will be welcomed. I think his veteran presence and stability will even things out on D for Ottawa. Leaving them with more than a few options.


As previously mentioned, Jared Cowen has struggled finding ice time so far. He sat out 5 games consecutively and Paul Maclean had claimed Jared Cowen had to go back to basics. Claiming he was no longer a young player and the Senators could not allow him to play through his mistakes. He came back in games against Chicago and Columbus, and played fine. [more here]


Mika Zibanejad had an 8 game pointless streak during Ottawa’s first 8 games. The streak matched last years longest drought, and Mika hopes 8 is this seasons longest drought as well as he slapped home a goal against CHI; breaking the streak.

Mika has had a career high in TOI this season, where numbers have not gone his way. Lines have been shuffled for the 2nd line where Mika has played with Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan on his left side, while Alex Chiasson has remained on Mika’s right side.

Paul MacLean recently experimented with a “kid-line” which saw Mike Hoffman, Curtis Lazar, and Mark Stone dominant at times. If MacLean goes back to that, I think Ottawa has a nice forward group which is capable of rolling 4 lines. [more here]


I have trouble seeing where these two fit in the lineup at this point. Ottawa can’t carry 14 forwards forever and when Marc Methot returns, a roster move will need to be made.

I don’t think you can justify placing either one of these guys ahead of players like Curtis Lazar, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, etc. The only move I can see would be Condra out for Neil where Neil needs to accept a role similar to an expanded “Matt Kassian” role.

Ottawa has some decisions ahead, Marc Methot coming of Injury will result in a roster size of 24, where the NHL maximum is 23. A decision will need to be made at that point, it will be interesting to see what that decision is. [more here]

November is upon us. The Senators face Boston tonight to kick things off, with Detroit in sight. Go Sens Go.