NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Ottawa Senators.
[Senators 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Fantasy breakdown]
1. Shorthanded threat
Over the past three seasons, the Senators ranked last in the NHL with a power-play percentage of 16.5 percent and a penalty-killing percentage of 77.2 percent.
In that time, they were outscored 167-122 in power-play goals, but the 45-goal disadvantage was softened by a 16-goal lead in shorthanded goals. Their 28 shorthanded goals were tied for third in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, behind the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets, who each scored 29. They allowed 12 in that span, the second fewest in the NHL after the Los Angeles Kings, who gave up 10 (the Vegas Golden Knights allowed five last season, their first in the NHL).
Ottawa center Jean-Gabriel Pageau had 12 shorthanded points (eight goals, four assists) over the past three seasons, which ranked second in the NHL to Boston forward Brad Marchand (15). Senators forward Zack Smith was tied for third in that span with Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano with 11 shorthanded points (nine goals, two assists).
Video: 31 in 31: Ottawa Senators 2018-19 season preview
2. Youth movement
The Senators have been working toward assembling a younger team. Last season, they used 44 players, most in the NHL, and 13 were 23 or younger when the season began.
Some of the more notable contributions at defenseman came from Thomas Chabot, who turned 21 on Jan. 30 and ranked fifth among NHL rookie defensemen with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 63 games, and Cody Ceci, 24, who led the Senators with 1,913:50 of ice time and 171 blocked shots, and ranked second with 163 hits.
Video: OTT@NYI: Chabot pots first career NHL goal
3. Return to form from Anderson
The Senators are hopeful goalie Craig Anderson can bounce back after struggling last season. Anderson turned 37 on May 21 and is the third-oldest goaltender in the NHL behind Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers (39) and Ryan Miller of the Anaheim Ducks (38).
The Senators allowed 284 goals last season, second most in the NHL behind the New York Islanders (293). It was an NHL-high 74-goal increase over the 210 they allowed in 2016-17.
Anderson's save percentage fell from .926 in 2016-17, which was tied for fourth among the 54 NHL goaltenders to play at least 20 games, to .898 last season, which ranked 52nd.
Video: EDM@OTT: Anderson extends for pair of terrific saves