The Senators want to win games this year. And to do that they need goals.
Now due to the fact that GM-PD traded away every single goal scorer he could get his hands on, and didn’t re-sign half the others, Sens fans were left asking: “Where are the goals going to come from?”
In today’s NHL, the answer is usually the same.
They come from the power play.
Statistically, this should be true.
But not if you are the Ottawa Senators.
I looked at last year’s PP% rankings.
I scrolled down.
The Ottawa Senators were 31st out of 31 teams.
They were clicking at a miserly 14.7%.
If I am being honest here -- which I am - it is hard to even call that “clicking”.
What’s more, the Sens no longer have 15 of their 30 power play goals from last year on the roster.
As any Sens fan knows, GMPD took the words “roster overhaul” to the extreme this off season and the power play has completely changed as a result.
We now have a first power play consisting of Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot (both holdovers from last year), with Evgeni Dadanov coming in from Florida, and Drake Batherson and Josh Norris being promoted from Belleville.
This, if my calculations are correct, is the youngest first unit in the NHL. And -- I hope -- it could become one of the best.
They're actually tied for being the youngest with Vancouver, having an average age of 23.6yrs. Vancouver, interestingly enough, had the same unit last year, which, at 22.6 years of age, was fourth in the league in power play scoring percentage and 3rd in total goals scored.
Other teams that we think of as having some of the best young cores in the league are:
Edmonton (PP ranked 1st in the league last year) now aging in at 27 y/o
Toronto (PP ranked 6th last year and 24.2 y/o) now aging in at 25.2 y/o
And the Colorado Avalanche (19th last year [not that great eh] and 24.8) now at 25.8 y/o
Needless to say, these Ottawa guys are young. Very young.*
But they look good. Very good.
Here are some stats that tell you that they will be good, based on historical evidence.
Chabot had 11 assists on the power play last year (he was in on over a third of all PP goals) while Tkachuk had eight points. Evgenii Dadanov scored 11 goals (17 points) for Florida.
In the AHL, Josh Norris led the way with 10 goals and 10 assists while Drake Batherson set up 16 goals and scored three himself.
But forget the evidence! Right now, the power play is 26th in the league and scoring at a lower efficiency than last year.
However, my eyes are also telling me what my heart wants to believe.
Gone are the days of watching Bobby Ryan receive the drop pass and slowly wind his way down the ice.
We still see the drop pass, but now it's to Drake Batherson, who can actually get into the offensive zone!!!! Crisp puck movement, a healthy balance of shooters and passers, and a high level of confidence in making skilled plays gives us faith.
Sure, the kids are young and haven’t figured out how to - you know - “score”.
But, to be fair, there were no exhibition games, and three out of five of the players are new to the unit entirely.
The Senators actually have skill and finesse on the power play, and I hope you’re tickled pink.
The Kids are alright when they're on the power play and, in the wings, “Jimmy” Stu awaits.
The goals will come.
*Please note that Dadanov is not young. He is legally old enough to be their dad.
By Jonathan Gilman | Sens Nation Hockey