Midseason Report Card: Grading Every Senators Player at the Halfway Mark

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 16: Goaltender Anders Nilsson #31 of the Ottawa Senators skates back to the net after a break in the action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on December 16, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 16: Goaltender Anders Nilsson #31 of the Ottawa Senators skates back to the net after a break in the action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on December 16, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Sitting at 16-22-8 the Senators season is going as expected, in spite of that some players have put forth good performances so far this season

Each player is graded if they have played a minimum of 14 games for the Senators this year


Artem Anisimov (29GP, 8G, 2A, -13 +/-)
Grade (C)

Anisimov has performed the way many fans expected going into the 2019/2020 season, he has 8 goals in only 28 games which is over a 20-goal pace for a full season. He looks sluggish on the ice at points during games but as a veteran filler for the team his performance has been average. Also, Anisimov is having a Cy Young performance, with his 8 goals and just 2 assists.

Jean-Christophe Beaudin (22GP, 0G, 1A, -4 +/-)

Grade (D)

Beaudin was a surprise call up and nobody had him penciled in as playing one NHL game this year let alone 22. He showed some speed and grit that are passable for many fourth liners, but it just seemed as the Senators needed someone to fill that fourth line spot for the time being and not stunt a top-prospects development. Beaudin was fine for his role but I don’t expect him to get many more games in the NHL in the future.

Connor Brown (46 GP, 9G, 20A, -6 +/-)
Grade (B+)

Brown has been one of the Senators most consistent forwards throughout the season, while contributing both short-handed and on the powerplay. His 27 points place him third on the team and he is arguably one of the biggest surprises of the season for Ottawa. Brown has established himself as the key piece in the “Ceci-Zaitsev” trade.

Filip Chlapik (22 GP, 2G, 3A, -2 +/-)
Grade (C)

Chlapik has been flipping between Ottawa and Belleville throughout the season and has been solid in his limited time with Ottawa. Averaging only 852 of icetime per game and has been stuck on the fourth line for the majority of his time. With line mates such as JC Beaudin and Scott Sabourin he hasn’t had the chance to show his offensive game, but he has played well within his role.

Anthony Duclair (46 GP, 21G, 11A, -5 +/-)

Grade (A)

Duclair has established himself as a pure sniper this season, his 21 goals are very impressive and lead the team. The Senators have been looking for a go to sniper for the longest time and have seemingly found one in Duclair. His speed and shot seem to be the perfect fit for todays NHL, and should lock him up a contract extension in the offseason. His 5 power play goals lead the team and his 7 power play points are tied with Thomas Chabot for the first spot, he is a lone bright spot for a struggling Senators powerplay.

Tyler Ennis (47GP, 11G, 14A, -5 +/-)

Grade (B)

Ennis has had a very solid start to the season with Ottawa, he sits 5th on the Senators in points. Some games Ennis has looked like the best player on the ice for the Senators showing off his speed and skill that has made the diminutive Ennis a career NHLer. Getting solid NHL minutes and playing well with them will make Ennis a player of interest for teams at the trade deadline.

Vladislav Namestnikov (44GP, 9G, 10A, -8 +/-)

Grade (C)

After a great start with the Senators (starting with 7 points in his first 7 games) after getting traded from the Rangers he has just 11 points since in 34 games. He has cooled off significantly, including a 10 game pointless streak which was just recently snapped on Thursday. He did find some magic with Jean-Gabriel Pageau on the penalty kill where he scored 2 short handed goals. His speed and penalty killing is important for the Senators but you would like to see more from him on the offensive end.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau (46GP, 19G, 12A, +13 +/-)

Grade (A)

Pageau has been the heart and soul of the Senators the whole year, adding 19 goals which matches his career high from 2016 in 36 less games. This offensive outburst came out of nowhere for Pageau, who is also an impressive +13 which is very impressive on a Senators team that has a -34 goal differential. Pageau also has 3 short handed goals which is Pageau’s specialty and will lead to him being in high demand at the trade deadline.

Nick Paul (38GP, 6G, 7A, 0 +/-)

Grade (B-)

Paul was great after being called up from Belleville after being cut from the Senators during camp. He eventually was told to find a place to stay so he will be staying with the Senators for the whole year. Paul has been inconsistent finding his scoring touch. Its been touch and go for a while with him but the fact that he was cut in camp and ended up becoming a full time NHLer is very impressive and gives his grade a boost.

Scott Sabourin (15GP, 1G, 2A, -3 +/-)

Grade (D+)

Sabourin was a major surprise to make the Senators roster this year, but D.J. Smith liked the sandpaper that he would bring to the lineup and that he would protect the younger players. Sabourin missed a significant amount of time when he was involved in a scary collision with David Backes. He has been fine for his role, but it is obvious he isn’t an NHL player.

Chris Tierney (47GP, 7G, 17A, -7 +/-)

Grade (C+)

Tierney never pops off the screen when you watch him play, but his high hockey IQ and poise helps him collect solid point totals. He sits 7th on the Sens in points, he is always a solid contributor regardless of his role. He’s a middling centre on a team with plenty of centre depth in the system so don’t be surprised if Tierney is traded for a solid return at the deadline.

Brady Tkachuk (47GP, 14G, 11A, -15 +/-)

Grade (B)

The most noticeable player on the Senators on a game to game basis has to be Tkachuk, he seems to be always around the net creating chances or laying a huge hit. He leads Ottawa in hits and he also leads by almost 30 in shots over Anthony Duclair. At just 20 years old those categories are very impressive. His scoring is keeping his grade lower for the time being with only 25 points, look for him to improve in the second half.

Colin White (40GP, 4G, 9A, -12 +/-)

Grade (C-)

White has been the biggest disappointment so far this year for the Senators with very low point totals. Last year he was primarily paired with Mark Stone who had a significant impact on Whites point totals, now this year without Stone after a large contract extension he has struggled. Whether White is still battling his injury from the beginning of the year or he just is low on confidence, White will have to improve his play in the second half to leave a better impression on coach D.J. Smith.


Mark Borowiecki (45GP, 5G, 11A, +2 +/-)

Grade (B+)

The biggest surprise so far this year has to be Mark Borowiecki’s breakout year in his 30 year-old season. He already has his career high in points in just 44 games and is standing at a +3 rating on a poor Senators team. Borowiecki has evolved his game from a bottom pairing enforcer to a solid top 6 defence man, whether for necessity or just growth Borowiecki is playing way above expectation. He is also averaging 18:16 per game which is a career high.

Erik Brannstrom (31GP, 0G, 4A, -9 +/-)

Grade (C)

Brannstrom struggled to find his footing with the big club, he looked overmatched at points especially due to his size but the main concern was his lack of explosiveness. This was imminent at the beginning of the season but after being sent down to Belleville he seemed to gain some confidence back for his next call up. He made a few more plays that showcased his elite skill and decision making which made him a blue chip prospect. He also looked way more comfortable on the right side, which is something the Senators should take note of.

Thomas Chabot (46GP, 4G, 23A, -20 +/-)

Grade (B-)

Chabot has been forced to play too many minutes this year due to the depleted Senators blue line. He has been separated from his regular partner Dylan Demelo and has struggled to find his footing with Zaitsev. Chabot needs to play with Demelo they resemble the Methot-Karlsson pairing that was dynamite for years. With Demelo missing a month Chabot had to carry a larger load and was playing 30 minutes every night, fatigue has definitely became a problem and Chabot hasn’t looked near as explosive or dominant this season. He is leading the NHL in Time on ice with 26:37 per game. Chabots defensive game has also taken a hit, but I have no doubt he will rebound.

Dylan Demelo (37GP, 0G, 7A, +5 +/-)

Grade (B)

Demelo has been arguably the Senators most reliable defenceman this season, providing stabilization to any partner he is paired with. He tends to thrive primarily when paired with Chabot, they tend to bring out the best in each other, where Demelo can play great defence to backup Chabot. While Demelo is not the teams best defenceman (Chabot) he has earned a lot of praise for his play, particularly from D.J. Smith.

Cody Goloubef (18GP, 0G, 1A, -3 +/-)

Grade (D+)

Goloubef came into the season as the 7th defenceman on the team and it has stayed like that for the whole year, but with so many injuries to the Senators defence he saw time on the top pairing alongside Thomas Chabot. Some games Goloubef was forced to play top pair minutes which he is just not suited for, he visibly struggled, especially in his own end. Goloubef hasn’t been too noticeable when he has been inserted into the lineup because his minutes are usually limited except for special circumstances.

Ron Hainsey (40GP, 1G, 7A, +4 +/-)

Grade (B)

Hainsey has been his usually solid self for the majority of the season for Ottawa, at the age of 38 and averaging around 20 minutes of ice time per game is an impressive feat. He also did a solid job mentoring and helping Erik Brannstrom adapt to the NHL game, when both players were in the lineup they were most likely paired together. The invaluable experience and leadership Hainsey provides is his most valuable asset, and his play on the ice has been competent as well.

Nikita Zaitsev (34GP, 0G, 8A, -2 +/-)

Grade (C)

Zaitsev doesn’t have the flashiest game and also doesn’t bring too much to the table in terms off offence so he is relied upon heavily for his defensive zone play. Zaitsev looks lost on some plays with the puck, he relies on the dump and chase a lot before making a good head man pass, his hockey IQ isn’t one of his strong points. His possession numbers are subpar and in turn has been dragging Thomas Chabot down with him when they are paired together. Zaitsev looks like a similar player to who he was traded for (Ceci), the Senators will likely be stuck with that contract for the duration of it.


Goalies are exempt from the 14 Game minimum requirements

Craig Anderson (6-12-1, 3.32 GAA, .897 SP%)

Grade (C)

Anderson hasn’t been great this season and its clear that his age is catching up with him, he looks slower in the net and isn’t the same dominant force the Senators rode to multiple playoff appearances. He has been the worse of the three goalies to start for the team this year.

Marcus Hogberg (1-2-5, 3.01 GAA, .901 SP%)

Grade (C+)

Hogberg looks like he is here to stay now, his recent play has been really solid regardless of his record which wasn’t much of his doing. He looks very athletic in the net and with his 6’5″ frame he has the potential to be a starter in this league.

Anders Nilsson (9-9-2, 3.18 GAA, .908 SP%)

Grade (B+)

Nilsson took over the starting goaltender position from Anderson early in the year until his concussion that has him currently sidelined. He has turned in many good performances this year but the one that stands out the most is his dominant 52 save performance in Ottawa’s 3-2 shootout loss to Vegas on October 17th. He looked great in what was the game that pushed him to get the starting job.