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31 in 31

Ottawa Senators key statistics

Karlsson far from liability on defense; Borowiecki most prolific hitter in NHL

by Rob Vollman / Correspondent is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Ottawa Senators.


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1. Busting the myth

Erik Karlsson's offensive value to the Ottawa Senators is well-established. There is a common perception that he is weak defensively, but it's one that can't be backed up with numbers. Karlsson plays big minutes, blocks a lot of shots and takes a regular shift killing penalties, and opponents don't get a lot of shots when he's on the ice.

Over the past three seasons, Karlsson averaged 21:58 minutes per game at even strength, third in the NHL behind Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild (22:38) and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings (22:04). No defenseman gets anywhere near as much even-strength ice time as Karlsson without a reputation for strong, two-way play. Karlsson also averaged 1:19 minutes per game killing penalties, despite the value in saving his time and energy for the power play.

Karlsson blocked 465 shots in 241 games the past three seasons, 10th-most in the League. Despite Karlsson typically playing against opponents' top players, Ottawa's 54.06 shot attempts allowed per 60 minutes with him on the ice was third-best among the 11 Senators defensemen who played at least 300 minutes at 5-on-5 the past three seasons. 

Karlsson may not be elite defensively, but the numbers suggest that he is far from being a liability.

Video: 31 in 31: Ottawa Senators 2017-18 season preview


2. Hard-hitting hockey

Defenseman Mark Borowiecki was the most prolific hitter in the NHL last season, and by a wide margin. He had 364 hits (5.2 per game), 64 more than Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matt Martin, who was second in the League. 

Borowiecki's 868 hits the past three seasons led NHL defensemen. Second-ranked Roman Polak had 760 for the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks.

Because of the difference in how hits are recorded in various manpower situations and by NHL scorekeepers from one city to another, players can be evaluated using the Adjusted Even-Strength Hit (AESHt) statistic unveiled by Iain Fyffe in the book "Stat Shot." Based on Fyffe's formula, Borowiecki averaged 16.24 hits per 60 minutes at even strength the past three seasons, adjusted to League-average scorekeeping. That was fifth overall in the NHL, and first among defensemen, well ahead of Radko Gudas of the Philadelphia Flyers, who was second (12.25).

Video: OTT@NYR: Borowiecki finds twine with pinpoint drive


3. Doing it all

One of Ottawa's most versatile players is Mark Stone, who can score, drive possession, and finished sixth in Selke Trophy voting as the best defensive forward in the NHL last season.

To account for ice time and different manpower situations, forwards often are evaluated using their even-strength scoring rate. From this perspective, Stone's 2.13 points per 60 minutes over his three full NHL seasons ranked second on the Senators behind Mike Hoffman (2.22).

From a shot-based perspective, Ottawa's share of shot attempts at 5-on-5 last season improved from 46.4 percent without Stone to 54.31 percent with him on the ice. Stone's shot attempts relative percentage of plus-7.9 ranked eighth among NHL forwards who played at least 20 games.

Video: OTT@NYR, Gm6: Stone snaps a wrister short side

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