The Ottawa Senators miraculously made the playoffs last season. They broke an NHL record by being the first team to make the playoffs after being back 14 points at any time in the season. The playoffs were short-lived, as Ottawa lost to the Montreal Canadiens in round one.
It is important to examine the Senators statistics from last year to see what they did well and what they did poorly. How much of their making it to the playoffs was based off the miraculous play of Andrew Hammond? Did the team have a good offense? I attempt to answer these questions in the following paragraphs.
Even strength scoring was not an issue for the Senators. The Senators ranked eleventh in the league in terms of even strength goals for by scoring 152 goals.
The Senators actually scored two more even strength goals on the season than the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Ottawa’s even strength goals against was ranked 15th in the league, giving up 143 goals. Goal stats were fairly good during even strength play. In terms of Goals For vs Goals Against the Senators were ranked 13th in the league by scoring 9 more goals than they gave up during the season. Let’s compare the Senators to the two teams in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were ranked first in goal differential by scoring 179 goals and giving up 137, putting them with a goal differential of +42. The Chicago Blackhawks scored 150 goals and gave up 129 goals, putting them with a goal differential of +21. The Senators numbers were more pedestrian than the Blackhawks and Lightning. I believe the Senators have a good even strength offense but not a great one.
The Sens were very fortunate in one particular statistic, even strength save percentage. Ottawa’s goaltending was impeccable last season. Ottawa was ranked 6th in save percentage sitting at a 93% save percentage during even strength play. Chicago was 2nd in the NHL with a 93.5 even strength save percentage, Tampa Bay was ranked 20th with a 91.9 even strength save percentage, making Ottawa very fortunate that had good goaltending during even strength play.
People have been up in arms about Corsi and Fenwick or as the NHL website lists Shot Attempts and Unblocked Shot Attempts. I believe Corsi/Shot Attempts are extremely important statistics. Ottawa finished 18th with a 50.3 Even Strength Corsi%. That percentage is found by measuring shot attempts versus shot attempts against. Chicago finished 2nd with a 53.6% and Tampa Bay finished 4th with a 53%. Chicago and Tampa both made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. They were both great teams at putting more shot attempts at the opponent then they received. For Tampa Bay, that should only improve with the depth addition of former Sens forward, Erik Condra.
Examining the Senators special teams/penalty numbers brings some extremely interesting data. Ottawa was the 22nd ranked team on the Power Play with a 16.8% Power Play percentage. Ottawa was 11th in Penalty Killing with a 82.9% Penalty Killing percentage. Ottawa appeared to have a strong PK and a weak PP. I wonder how the PK will be affected by the loss of Erik Condra. Ottawa ranked 8th in PIM’s with 841. Ottawa was 12th in the NHL for Times Shorthanded with 257 occurrences.
The Ottawa Senators had a miraculous run to the playoffs last year. The team was pretty good during even strength play. Their goal totals were decent, their even strength save percentage was impeccable. The Senators were a good penalty killing team and had an average power play. The Senators have lost Erik Condra who was a key part of their penalty killing unit. I believe it will be important for the Sens to get more pucks on/at the net this year and If had not had such stellar goaltending things could have been far worse for the club last season.