The former Toronto Maple Leaf captain could not be in better form returning to the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night. With nine goals to his name, punching well above his weight in terms of offensive output for the Ottawa Senators.
Phaneuf’s lack of offensive output in recent seasons has been well documented. Not since his Calgary days has he been an attacking powerhouse, notching 200 plus shots in his time there.
Compare him with Erik Karlsson, both tied on nine goals, baffling to think that those two would be tied for goals at this time of the season. Even more impressive, Karlsson has only one powerplay goal whereas Phaneuf has four. Karlsson has definitely received more pucks than Dion in those situations also, making Phaneuf more clinical.
Ottawa Senators fans will be excited seeing their much ridiculed defenseman in baking hot form before the Battle of Ontario. No defenseman has been berated more than Dion Phaneuf in the NHL, even Sens fans are already offering him up to the expansion draft.
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Leadership is not easily found in the NHL, the best players in the league aren’t necessarily the greatest leaders. Look no further than the Sens, Karlsson may possess the “C” on his sweater, Phaneuf is undoubtedly a better leader.
Back to the shot count, Dion has 112 with 27 games left to play, my money would be on him topping the 200 barrier. With his goal scoring so elevated he may just end up as one of the top goal scoring defenseman, there’s a headline for you.
Shooting percentage is up to 8 percent where his career average is 5.8. Not expecting it to stay that high but even still more than likely to post an above average season. On the powerplay, Phaneuf’s shot percentage is an eye watering 14.29 percent. The closest he has got to those numbers in recent seasons is a 10.53 back in 2011-12. To put these figures into perspective, he had a 0.00 percent last season with more time on ice at 190:53 compared to 144:48 this season.
To show how effective Phaneuf has been on the powerplay, Erik Karlsson’s is 2.5 percent.