Originally posted on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 10/15/13
When hockey’s best columnist devotes three of his thirty thoughts to the Ottawa Senators, it’s second nature to examine what he wrote and break it down further. 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. At this point in the NHL season, Robin Lehner has been a freak. 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 while Lehner was in nets during the past two games – his GAA should probably in the fours or fives. Where Lehner really shines has to do with his save percentage. At even strength, he boasts a save percentage of .938 and while the Sens were 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 bright spots in an Ottawa lineup that is devoid of many. And should he 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 since they have invested so heavily into 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 and having won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as 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. 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 data that the NHL makes available through the game summary information on its website, I’m not buying much of what Hitch is saying. Here’s a summary of the data: October 4th @ Buffalo – 9 icings Period Time Team Won Zone Senator Who Took 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 5th@ Toronto – 9 icings Period Time Team Won Zone Senator Who Took 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 SOG 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 9th @ Los Angeles – 1 icing Period Time Team Won Zone Senator Who Took Draw Result 3 3:06 Ottawa Offensive Da Costa 2 shots directed at net – Senators score on 2nd October 12thth @ San Jose – 8 icings Period Time Team Won Zone Senator Who Took 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 13th @ Anaheim – 9 icings Period Time Team Won Zone Senator Who Took 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, I came up with 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 came off a faceoff win and the other came following a faceoff loss but was created off of a turnover Judging by the results alone, I’m not sure I’d invest too heavily into Hitchcock's theory. If anything, Ottawa's been more efficient and had more success following an icing call. If anything, blame Ottawa's inability to stay out of the penalty box - which in turn, disjoints play and creates more puck possession and shots by the opposition. Their amount of power play time minus their penalty kill time is the worst in the NHL. 
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