NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams from Nov. 16-Dec. 16. Today, three key statistics for the Ottawa Senators.
1. Goals-against per game
The Senators allowed 3.35 goals per game last season, second-most in the NHL after the Detroit Red Wings (3.73). The Senators had a 5-on-5 save percentage of .917, which was tied with the Montreal Canadiens for 17th, but they struggled on the penalty kill, where they allowed 0.77 power-play goals per game, second-most in the NHL after the Red Wings (0.82). Some of that struggle can be traced to goaltending. Of the 57 goalies to play at least 20 games last season, Marcus Hogberg was 55th with an .820 power-play save percentage in 22 games; Craig Anderson was 46th at .843 in 34 games; and Anders Nilsson was 20th at .880 in 20 games. The Senators acquired goalie Matt Murray in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 7, and his .873 power-play save percentage since 2015-16 is tied with Mike Smith of the Edmonton Oilers and Corey Crawford of the New Jersey Devils for 16th among goalies to play at least 180 games during the span. A goaltending tandem of Murray and Nilsson should give the Senators better play at the position this season.
2. Power-play percentage
Ottawa was last on the power play last season at 14.2 percent and scored 30 power-play goals, third fewest in the NHL. Forwards Tyler Ennis, Anthony Duclair and Artem Anisimov tied for the Senators lead with five power-play goals, but only Anisimov is signed for this season; Ennis was traded to the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 24 and Duclair is an unrestricted free agent. Without two of their top producing forwards on the power play, the Senators could rely on forward Evgenii Dadonov, who signed a three-year contract as a free agent Oct. 15. Dadonov tied forward Mike Hoffman for the Florida Panthers lead last season with 11 power-play goals and was fifth on the Panthers with 17 power-play points, which was more than anyone on the Senators scored last season; defenseman Thomas Chabot led them with 11.
3. Shot attempt differential
The Senators had a minus-233 shot attempt differential (SAT), which was 26th in the NHL. Defenseman Dylan DeMelo led Ottawa with a plus-68 SAT but was traded to the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 18. Forward Bobby Ryan, who was third at plus-34, agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Red Wings on Oct. 9 (forward Brady Tkachuk was second at plus-59). Dadonov was a plus-61 with the Panthers, which should help offset the departures of DeMelo and Ryan. Forward Alex Galchenyuk, who signed a one-year contract with Ottawa on Oct. 28, was a plus-8 in 14 games last season with the Minnesota Wild (after he was a minus-49 in 45 games to start the season with the Pittsburgh Penguins), and could increase his SAT with a bigger role this season. The Senators’ offseason additions could improve their puck-possession metrics, which could lead to additional wins this season.