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Ottawa Senators season update: Life after DJ Smith begins

This frustrating season for the Ottawa Senators came to a tipping point on Monday when they fired head coach DJ Smith.

Smith was Ottawa’s head coach since May 23, 2019 and has been there through the somewhat painful rebuild. 

After finishing 39-35-8 with 86 points last season, the Senators finally looked ready to compete. With that, they entered 2023/24 with expectations for the first time in years. Unfortunately, that is not how things have played out.

It seemed like this roster was now in position to compete for a playoff spot, but after a slow start, General Manager Pierre Dorion was fired. 

A month and a half later, head coach Smith has now also been fired, with Ottawa coach from 1996-2004 Jacques Martin replacing him as interim head coach in his second stint with the team. It remains to be seen whether it is too little too late. 

At the end of the day, this is a talented roster that has played the fewest games in the NHL. If they can go on a run, they will hope to give the playoffs a sniff come spring. 

Record:11-16-0 (22 points)
Point Percentage:.407 (22nd in the NHL)
Standings:8th in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference

Key wins:

  • 11/16/23: 5-4 (OT) vs Detroit
  • 12/5/23: 6-2 vs New York Rangers
  • 12/9/12: 5-1 vs Detroit Red Wings

Key losses:

  • 11/27/23: 5-0 vs Florida Panthers
  • 12/1/23: 4-2 vs Columbus Blue Jackets
  • 12/17/23: 6-3 vs Vegas Golden Knights

Key Statistical Leaders

Goals

  • Brady Tkachuk: 14
  • Drake Batherson: 10
  • Josh Norris: 10

Assists

  • Tim Stutzle: 24
  • Claude Giroux: 16
  • Jakob Chychrun: 16

Points

  • Tim Stutzle: 30
  • Claude Giroux: 25
  • Drake Batherson: 23

Plus-Minus

  • Mathieu Joseph: +12
  • Ridley Greig: +8
  • Vladimir Tarasenko: +7

Power Play Goals

  • Josh Norris: 4
  • Brady Tkachuk: 4
  • Four players: 2

Time On Ice

  • Thomas Chabot: 24:23
  • Jake Sanderson: 23:35
  • Jakob Chychrun: 23:01

NHL Rankings by Key Statistic (out of 32)

Goals scored per game:11
Goals allowed per game:26
Goals scored 5 on 5:18
Goals allowed 5 on 5:17
Power Play Percentage:20
Penalty Kill Percentage:29
Faceoff Percentage:10
Shots on goal per game:9
Shots allowed per game:15

Read More: NHL Power Rankings

Top Performers:

The Senators have one player who is averaging over a point per game and that is Tim Stutzle.

Stutzle has 6 goals and 24 points for 30 points in 27 games played along with a +3 rating. He skates an average of 22 minutes per game and will continue to be vital to this team if they are going to climb out of the cellar. 

After Stutzle, the Senators have 4 more players with 20+ points in 27 games played, then 2 players with 19 points, and 2 players with 17 points. That is solid depth with under 30 games played.

At 36 years old, Claude Giroux continues to show off his playmaking ability with his 25 points. Center Drake Batherson and Captain Brady Tkachuk bring a solid combination with 23 and 21 points respectively. 

Josh Norris has been productive in his return from a brief suspension early this season. Mathieu Joseph and Vladimir Tarasenko have provided reliable secondary point production and very good plus minus ratings.

Odds

To Reach the Playoffs+500
To win Atlantic Division+8000
To win Eastern Conference+3500
To win Stanley Cup+7000

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