Replacing the minutes of a player like Ron Hainsey with someone like Trevor van Riemsdyk would immediately improve the Senators. That’s not to say someone like TVR is a world-beater, but speaks to how replacing an aging defensive liability with a consistently good defender could increase the team’s fortunes.
Van Riemsdyk has had an interesting career. After showing tons of promise in his early days in Chicago, he was a casualty of the team’s salary cap issues, and has had an up and down ride as a Carolina Hurricane. 2017-18 and 2018-19 were both fine years, but when the team opted to bring in Joel Edmundsson and Jake Gardiner in the offseason, it diminished his role. If he hits the open market this year, the Senators should be all over him.
After averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice-time per night as a sophomore, his ice time has decreased each year, to a low of 14:52 this season. He’s really been a victim of playing for strong defensive teams, which have pushed him further down the lineup. TVR is never going to drive a pairing due to his lack of offensive tools, but is a strong complimentary defender.
TVR’s two most common partners this season were Jake Gardiner and Jaccob Slavin, who both have good offensive and shot suppressing qualities. These pairings all had good shot metrics, with a CF% (corsi for percent) of 57.45% and 51.84% respectively.
With offensively minded defencemen like Thomas Chabot, Mike Reilly and Erik Brannstrom set to be in the Senators lineup next season, perhaps the defensive presence of a player like TVR could have a similar effect on these players.
If the Ottawa Senators are truly determined to bring in a UFA to soak up some heavy defensive minutes, why not seek out an upgrade, as opposed to continuing with the status quo? As long as there are better options better than Mark Borowiecki and Ron Hainsey out there, Pierre Dorion and management should be exploring.
All stats via NaturalStatTrick.
Contract Information via CapFriendly.