News & Notes: 3 Friedman Thoughts On Ottawa

This week's 30 Thoughts continued a run of Senator related missives from Elliotte.

Let’s take a look:

"1. Obviously, the biggest debate in Edmonton is what goalie the Oilers should chase. They are at 49 contracts, so signing a free agent or trading a draft pick for a player  completely eliminates roster flexibility. Brian Elliott makes sense, but St. Louis may not be interested in taking salary in return. Is it worth giving up an asset to get someone (Elliott, Ryan Miller) who is unrestricted after the season without trying to sign them first? Ottawa probably wouldn't trade him, but Robin Lehner would be a perfect target."

Although his 2.61 save percentage isn’t eye-catching, relative to the way that his team has performed in front of him – allowing 97 shots in front of Lehner over the past two games – his GAA should probably in the fours or fives. At even strength, he boasts a save percentage of .938, and while shorthanded, he has a ridiculous .971 save percentage – good enough for a total save percentage of .948. 

Like Friedman says, the Sens probably won’t move Lehner. Suffice it to say, he’s been one of the few bright spots in an Ottawa's lineup, with the rest mostly playing like shit . And should Robin continue to shine, his numbers will inevitably lend itself to the discussion of when the Sens should entertain the thought of moving Craig Anderson instead.

I simply can’t see the Senators giving up on the youth, potential and the more cost-efficient option; especially having invested so heavily in his development.

For years, Lehner has essentially been groomed for the number one starter’s position. As one of four goaltenders to win the Calder Cup as a teenager not to mention being named the Calder Cup playoffs’ most valuable player, Lehner has earned the label as a guy who can compete and win. For the Sens, it was just a matter of getting Lehner the development and NHL experience necessary to feel comfortable moving other assets to make room for him.

As we saw last year, Lehner’s play necessitated the Ben Bishop trade but it remains to be seen whether his play will make the organization consider moving Anderson, who’s signed through next season. To do so would mean sacrificing the organization’s greatest strength to address another weakness. And as a veteran goaltender who has more of a track record, what Anderson can fetch in a trade may not be too far off from what some team may be willing to pay for Lehner’s potential.

Management has stuck with Lehner through the ups and downs, and are reaping the benefits now. This is not the goalie to trade.

"2. Lehner, by the way, said he is down 18 pounds from his playing weight when Binghamton won the 2011 Calder Cup. He was 245 pounds then. He's now 227 and still looks huge. He was great last weekend, making 92 saves in less than 24 hours in San Jose and Anaheim."

;)

"5. Back to Ottawa: is one of the reasons it is giving up so many shots because of hybrid icing? Blues coach Ken Hitchcock says it's possible. "Teams that played puck pursuit and knew they'd win races don't have the same advantage," he said last week. "If you're a step behind now, it's a dead play… turns into a faceoff at the other end." He named the Senators and Bruins as teams that often won those races. (In an interview with The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hitchcock also named Chicago.)"

Having gone through the play-by-play, I’m not buying much of what Hitch is saying.

Here’s a summary of all the icings thus far:

October 4 @ Buffalo – 9 icings

Period
Time
Won
Zone
On Draw
Result
1
18:17
Ottawa
Defensive
Spezza
Exit zone
2
9:00
Ottawa
Offensive
Ryan
1 shot on goal
2
18:04
Ottawa
Offensive
Pageau
2 shots directed at net
2
19:23
Ottawa
Defensive
Spezza
Exit zone
3
1:49
Buffalo
Offensive
Smith
Puck enters bench, Pageau wins next faceoff and exits zone
3
7:01
Ottawa
Defensive
Pageau
Didn’t exit. 4 shots directed at net including 1 shot on goal
3
8:17
Ottawa
Defensive
Smith
Exit zone
3
16:10
Buffalo
Defensive
Spezza
Puck goes in crowd
3
19:49
Buffalo
Offensive
Pageau
1 shot directed at net

October 5 @ Toronto – 9 icings

Period
Time
Won
Zone
On Draw
Result
1
3:06
Toronto
Defensive
Spezza
2 shots on goal
1
9:51
Toronto
Defensive
Turris
1 shot on goal – Sens score
1
11:24
Toronto
Offensive
Turris
1 shot directed at net
2
4:30
Toronto
Defensive
Turris
1 shot on goal
3
4:30
Toronto
Offensive
Smith
Puck goes into netting. Toronto wins next faceoff and gets 1 shot on goal
3
10:17
Toronto
Defensive
Turris
Icing
3
10:31
Toronto
Offensive
Turris
2 shots directed at net
3
15:27
Ottawa
Offensive
Turris
Puck goes into crowd
3
16:00
Toronto
Offensive
Turris
1 shot on goal

October 9 @ Los Angeles – 1 icing

Period
Time
Won
Zone
On Draw
Result
3
3:06
Ottawa
Offensive
Da Costa
2 shots directed at net – Senators score on 2nd

October 12 @ San Jose – 8 icings

Period
Time
Team 
Zone
On Draw
Result
1
3:43
Ottawa
Defensive
Turris
Icing
1
3:51
Ottawa
Defensive
Turris
Zone exit
1
11:33
San Jose
Offensive
Turris
Puck goes into netting
3
2:35
Ottawa
Defensive
Smith
Puck goes into bench
3
8:56
Ottawa
Defensive
Da Costa
2 shots directed at net
3
18:45
San Jose
Defensive
Smith
1 shot on goal
3
19:25
San Jose
Defensive
Spezza
Icing
3
19:33
Ottawa
Offensive
Smith
1 shot directed at net

October 13 @ Anaheim – 9 icings

Period
Time
Won
Zone
On Draw
Result
1
4:45
Ottawa
Defensive
Spezza
1 shot on goal
1
5:41
Anaheim
Defensive
Turris
Icing
1
5:50
Anaheim
Defensive
Smith
Zone Exit
2
12:03
Anaheim
Offensive
Turris
Zone Exit
2
13:07
Anaheim
Offensive
Spezza
Zone Exit
2
13:44
Ottawa
Offensive
Da Costa
Zone Exit
2
15:25
Ottawa
Defensive
Pageau
Anaheim scores on 1 shot on goal
3
4:25
Anaheim
Offensive
Turris
Silfverberg penalty
3
10:19
Anaheim
Defensive
Da Costa
3 shots directed at net including 1 shot on goal

After tallying the numbers, we get the following information:

Senators in the Defensive Zone Following an Icing:

- 6 clean exits not allowing a shot or shot directed at net
- 10 faceoff wins vs 10 faceoff losses
- 14 shots were directed by the opposition at net including 4 shots on goal
- The Sens allowed one goal which came off a Jean-Gabriel Pageau faceoff win

Senators in the Offensive Zone Following an Icing

- 2 clean exits by the opposition without allowing a shot or shot directed at net
- 6 faceoff wins vs 10 faceoff losses
- 14 shots were directed at the net by the Senators, including 8 shots on goal
- The Sens scored two goals – one off a faceoff win, the other following a faceoff loss created off a turnover

With these results it's very hard to say Hitchcock's theory explains any of Ottawa's struggles with shots against. If anything, Ottawa's been more efficient and had more success following an icing call.

Instead, blame Ottawa's inability to stay out of the box – which in turn, disjoints offensive play and taxes the best defenders. The Senators have spent about 24 minutes more shorthanded than they have on the power play, worst in the league.

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