While he only played 11 games for the Ottawa Senators in 2019-20, Jayce Hawryluk seemed too good to be a waiver wire pick-up.
The former Florida Panthers 2nd round draft pick is searching for his first real chance and permanent NHL home. Based purely on his play prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, Ottawa could very well be the team to give him a chance.
Jayce Hawryluk certainly fits the profile of the type of player a rebuilding team like Ottawa should take a chance on. He was a prolific scorer at the junior level with the Brandon Wheat Kings, and later became a standout player with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. While everything hasn’t completely clicked at the NHL level for Hawryluk, he still has many useful tools for a bottom-six forward.
2 goals and 7 points across 11 games made for a nice introduction to what Hawryluk brings to the table. Hawryluk has only played 68 games in his NHL career but has built up a resumé of solid stats in that time. Of his 22 points at the top level, 72% of them are primary points (10 goals and 6 A1). That’s an encouraging trend for someone playing further down the lineup. (Via Icy Data)
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While he played a mere 11 games in Ottawa, the Yorkton, Saskatchewan native carried play effectively for the Senators. He was able to generate 63.48 CF/60 (chances for per 60 minutes), which was the 4th highest rate on the Senators team. His overall Corsi was 52.17%, the 5th highest on the team. This shows that he was able to effectively control the Senators’ shot share in his short time, a positive trend for a team that had the 6th worst mark in the league in this category (48.26CF%).
Again, his sample size with Ottawa is extremely small, but his stats don’t defer too differently from his tenure in Florida. This encouraging start in the nation’s capital at least deserves another look next season.
The Senators have been plagued in the past by their inability to create a base of bottom-six forwards that can meaningfully contribute in offensive or defensive situations. For any contender, having good depth can make or break a team. What they have in Hawryluk is a clearly effective option for lower in the lineup, that can move up for small stretches, if and when necessary.
Evolving Hockey projects Hawryluk’s next contract to be a two-year deal, worth $1.054m per. This is fair value for both parties, given what he brings. However, due to his small sample size of 68 NHL games, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him sign for less.
The Senators know what they have in Jayce Hawryluk, despite his small number of games played for the team. The bottom-six is one of the hardest to evaluate areas for any team, and a long-standing issue that the team must look to address. Keeping a player that is already in the system, and now familiar with the coaching staff, should be a no-brainer for Pierre Dorion.