The Ottawa Senators were nothing short of intriguing with the amount of individual success stories during the 2016-17 regular season. Erik Karlsson had yet another unbelievable offensive year, Mike Hoffman continued to show the hockey world he was an elite scorer and Craig Anderson put up outstanding numbers during an extremely difficult year away from the rink.
This is the first of three articles where we will delve into the statistical achievements of the team's forwards, defencemen and goaltenders.
First up: The forwards...
Mike Hoffman - Power Play
Mike Hoffman wasn't just the Senators' most lethal weapon on the power play; he was one of the most dangerous shooting options in the entire league. Only Sidney Crosby, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Schenn, Alex Ovechkin and Wayne Simmonds had more power play goals than Hoffman this season. Hoffman's 13 goals have him first by far on the Senators and sixth in the NHL.
Garnering more and more ice time on the man advantage each season he's been with the big club, Hoffman's production has increased greatly. In four years, the left winger has seen his goal and point totals turn elite.
On the power play this season, the 27-year-old had a goals per 60 minutes rating of 2.83, an assists per 60 minutes rating of 3.34 (career high) and a points per 60 minutes rating of 6.17 (career high).
Ryan Dzingel - Scoring Chances
Not many players can say they have the combination of speed and skill that Ryan Dzingel possesses. The Illinois native may have wanted a bit more luck this year around the net, but nonetheless, the amount of opportunities he created for himself in the 2016-17 campaign was staggering.
Dzingel led the Senators with 3.26 individual scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. And if the league kept breakaway statistics, he'd surely be tops in that category as well.
It's obvious that the 25-year-old took major steps in his development this season. Early on, he impressed during training camp, turning the heads of the Senators coaching staff with his high-octane style and exciting play. Dzingel recorded career highs in nearly every single category during his first full season with the big club.
Mark Stone - Takeaways
As Wayne Gretzky was famous for points, Martin Brodeur for shutouts and Gordie Howe for games played, Mark Stone will always be remembered for his pure dominance of the takeaway statistic.
The 2016-17 regular season marked the third straight year that Stone sat atop the league in takeaways with 96, 13 more than the player in second place. This becomes even more impressive when you realize he played 11 fewer games than runner-up Jacob Slavin.
Because Stone took some time off to tend to multiple injuries throughout the campaign, you really need to look at takeaway rates to get the full story. Stone finished the year with 4.37 takeaways per 60 minutes, while second place was Chicago forward Nick Schmaltz with a 3.42 rating.
This race was over before the season even started.
Derick Brassard - Possession
The possession side of the game is where Derick Brassard has been absolutely irreplaceable in his first season with the Senators.
On the surface, Brassard's 53.9% 5-on-5 Corsi For rating is impressive, but it's not exactly special when stacked up against the leaders. However, his team relative stats are where he is a top 10 possession player in the league.
While the Senators have been just below average in the possession department, Brassard's influence has kept them afloat. The Hull native has an outstanding 7.77 team relative Corsi rating. On the Senators, only Mark Stone has a higher rating at 7.84.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Penalty Kill
Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been getting Selke Trophy praise from the coaching staff and critics around the league for a number of months, and it's easy to see why. While his defensive expertise at even strength is the No. 1 reason he is one of the better third line centres in the NHL, his presence on the Senators' penalty kill is invaluable.
Pageau has proven to be one of the best penalty killers in the league at both ends of the rink. Only Brad Marchand (14) has more shorthanded points than Pageau (13) in the last three seasons. And over that same stretch, no one has more goals than Pageau (9).
The 24-year-old has an 18.7% Corsi For rating on the penalty kill. With a minimum of 150 minutes on the penalty kill, only Calgary forward Michael Frolik and Anaheim forward Andrew Cogliano have a higher rating than Pageau.
From a purely defensive standpoint, of the Senators forwards, Pageau leads the way with an extremely beneficial 91.6 Corsi Against per 60 minutes rating.