Eastern Edge – Playoff NonSENSe

by Russ on July 4, 2017
Bobby Ryan - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

Happy Fourth of July to our American friends.

The Ottawa Senators were the only team to qualify for the postseason with more goals allowed than goals for. They allowed the tenth fewest goals against while ranking 22nd in goals scored.

Losing Marc Methot in the expansion draft had to hurt a little, but there are in-house options on the backend that will help weather the loss. They will have to find a way to improve their 23rd-ranked power play from last year.

Looking at this team on paper, it’s difficult to see them as a playoff contender. Good thing the game isn’t played on paper. With Guy Boucher at the helm, Craig Anderson in the crease and Erik Karlsson, writing this team off prematurely would be a mistake.

 

 

Bobby Ryan

 

Prior to last season’s disappointment (25 points in 62 games), Ryan averaged 21 goals and 52 points in his first three seasons in Ottawa. In his last three campaigns with Anaheim, he averaged 33 goals and 64 points.

Something sparked for Ryan in this year’s playoffs. He scored 15 points in 19 games, a 65-point pace. His average of 2:53 minutes on the power play during the postseasons was the second highest on the team. At a glance, his 2:24 minute average with the man advantage during the regular season doesn’t seem that much different, but it was only seventh most on the Sens. Fantasy owners in cap leagues and Senator fans hope that his playoff surge carries over to this season with the 30-year-old scheduled to earn $7.25 million over the next five seasons.

So, does a very good playoff run mean that Ryan is back? Depends on which Ryan you are expecting, the Anaheim Ryan or the Ottawa Ryan. Forget about the Anaheim version, that was a different time, but I’d also forget about last season’s 25 points. If you were to put the over/under at 50 points for this season, I’d take the over.

 

 

Colin White

 

This is one player who has the talent to upset the apple cart (depth chart). In his two NCAA campaigns at Boston College, White scored 35 goals and 76 points in 72 games, though in his sophomore season, he had 10 less points in only two less games than the previous year. He’s played in two World Junior Hockey Championships, recording seven points in as many games and last year’s eight points in seven matches to help lead USA to the gold medal.

After his college season was finished, White managed to dress for two NHL regular season games and one playoff contest, but put up goose eggs. He also got in three AHL regular season games, scoring three points.

It’s hard to envision White cracking the top six out of training camp. The most likely scenario is that he’ll fit into the bottom-six mix initially or end up in Binghamton trying to prove that he’s too good for that level.

 

 

Ryan Dzingel

 

The top five are pretty set on the Sens and it looks as though Clarke MacArthur will round out the top six. We’re talking about a 32-year-old who has played a total of eight regular season games over the last two NHL seasons combined, though. MacArthur did have a decent playoff run with nine points in 19 games, however.

Should the improbable happen and MacArthur succumb to injury again, restricted free agent Ryan Dzingel would be one of the top candidates to step up and replace him in a scoring role. In his final season of college hockey, Dzingel recorded 46 points in 37 games. He also got in nine AHL games, scoring seven points. In 2014-15, he had 36 points in 44 AHL games and nine points in 30 NHL games.

Last season, the 25-year-old winger notched 32 points in 81 NHL games, yet only had three points in 15 playoff games. The downturn in points had more to do with the return of MacArthur than anything else. During the regular season, Dzingel averaged 14:23 minutes per game, 1:20 with the man advantage. In the post season, he only averaged 12:08 minutes with 0:36 via the power play.

Write Dzingel off at your own peril, the guy has scored at every level he’s played at. For the upcoming season, he may not see more than 35 points, but if MacArthur goes down and White isn’t quite ready for prime time, then Dzingel is a dark horse for 50 points.

 

 

Thomas Chabot

 

The Sens look to have hit a home run with the 18th overall pick from the 2015 entry draft. Chabot has done nothing but impress, especially this past season. He recorded 10 goals and 45 points in 34 junior games while being named the QMJHL’s Best Defenseman. He then scored 23 points in 18 playoff matches and finally had four points in as many games at the Memorial Cup.

Perhaps his best performance to date was at the most recent World Junior Hockey Championship, where he scored 10 points in seven games, tying Dylan Strome for the team lead. Chabot was named the tournament’s Top Defenseman and MVP for the silver medalist Team Canada.

Can the 20-year-old defenseman take the lion’s share of ice time that Marc Methot was given or will he need some more time to get up to speed at the top level? I wouldn’t bet against Chabot. He’s simply a stud.

 

 

Fredrik Claesson/Ben Harpur

 

In the event that Chabot can’t cut it right away in the Sens top four, one of these two will be first in line for a more prominent role. Pressed into duty in the playoffs, both Claesson and Harpur didn’t look overwhelmed, although, they were given reasonably protected minutes.

The most points Claesson has recorded in any given season was 29 in 75 AHL games during the 2013-14 season. He did manage to score 11 points in 33 NHL games this past year while averaging 13:08 minutes of ice time. That was with virtually no power-play time, too. He also played in 14 playoff games, logging 14:49 minutes per contest.

In his last two junior seasons combined, Harpur had 31 points in 57 games, and in his final junior playoffs, he registered six points in nine games. In the AHL last season, Harpur scored 27 points in 63 games and was voted the team’s MVP. The massive rearguard also sat for 81 penalty minutes, which is a positive for roto leagues. The 22-year-old averaged the fifth most (18:28) ice time by an Ottawa defender during his nine playoff games, garnering two points.

Neither is a particularly good option for fantasy leagues, though, as they aren’t likely to get much love on the power play. It's probably best to take a wait-and-see approach until things shake out in training camp this fall.