Ottawa Senators Free Agency Profile: Drew Stafford A Solid Option

UFA: DREW STAFFORD

Place of Birth: Milwaukee, WI

Birth Date: October 30, 1985 (30 years old)

Left/Right Winger

Shoots: Right

Weight/Height: 6’2″/ 214lbs

 

Scouting Report

Drew Stafford is a nine year veteran of the NHL, drafted by the Buffalo Sabres 13th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Since his rookie season in 2006-07, Stafford has been labeled as an underachieving player with the ability to become a consistent goal scorer if he put in the time and work. Check out Stafford’s career stats Here.

Scouting reports describe Stafford as inconsistent scoring winger with impressive size and skill. As he has played the majority of his time on a below average Buffalo Sabres team, there have been knocks on his game around  regularly taking shifts and nights off. 

Stafford is most effect when he is using his size to drive to the net and getting to the tough scoring areas. Goaltenders have also described his shot as “sneaky-fast”. During the 2014-15 season, Stafford was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in the Evander Kane deal. Stafford would slot into a top line spot and generate 19 points in 26 games with the Jets.

He has been touted as a top six forward throughout his career with the ability to score 20+ goals every season. But due to injuries, Stafford has never really lived up to those expectations. He has played 65 games a season on average, while only eclipsing the 70 game mark 4 times in his career.

Overall, Stafford is considered a inconsistent scoring winger who would benefit from working on becoming a more diversified offensive player, while continuing to work on his defensive responsibilities as well.

 

Does Drew Stafford Fit In Ottawa? 

To Answer this questions, you first need to look at what Ottawa already has in their line up. If the Senators were to sign Stafford during the off season, it would be expected that he would play in the top six.

Its apparent that the top line of Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris and Mark Stone will be set going into training camp.  That leaves the 2nd line open for discussion when looking at where Stafford could fit.

Although Stafford has been labeled an inconsistent goal scorer, I like what he brings to the table with regards to his size. One thing the Senators missed often on the 2nd line was puck retreival, which was apparent with the addition of Mike Hoffman who was not interested in playing in the corners or along the board, as he repeatedly could be seen in the middle of the circles.

Stafford could bring another size element alongside Mika Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan which would alleviate the pressure for Bobby Ryan to play the physical game along the boards, and allow him to find more open spots as Stafford and Zibanejad would be expected to retrieve the puck. He also could be a useful net presence on the 2nd Powerplay unit as I expect there will be little use of Chris Neil going forward.

So does Drew Stafford fit in Ottawa? Sure, but it is unlikely that the organization would consider signing him. He would be clustered into a group of talented right wingers which already includes Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan on the first two lines. If Curtis Lazar continues to play on the wing with Jean-Gabriel Pageau on the 3rd line, that would leave the 4th line right wing spot open, and at $4M a year, I don’t see him being a 4th line player.

 

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