Belleville Senators at the Forty-Game Mark

mediocre

The above is probably unfair to the word “mediocre”, but I’m in a glass half full mood. Typically I do these assessments on a monthly basis (like I did in November), or in 19-game increments (the quarterly mark for the season), but because my schedule was thrown into chaos by the passing of my father now seems as good a time as any to catch up and look at where the team is as well as how things have changed over the last month and a half.

The BSens are 16-21-3, which puts them 28th in the league. This is actually a slightly better winning percentage than how they finished last season (0.43 vs 0.39), but not a point of pride and certainly not what the organisation expected when they spent money on questionable talent in the off-season. As the inaugural season in Belleville the org wanted a winning, or at least competitive, team, and they just haven’t delivered.

Speaking of that winning percentage, it has dropped from where it stood after two months of the season (10-11-1), having gone a miserable 6-10-2 since. As much as coach Kurt Kleinendorst likes to make excuses for his team (injuries and call-ups), they’ve actually lost less man-games over this period compared to the start of the season (91 due to injury and 58 on call-ups in the first two months, versus 58 and 57 since).

On special teams there have been tiny improvements on the powerplay–it remains 27th in the league, but has gone up to 13.6% from 12.5% in November (they are 10-69, or 14.5%, of late). Officially the PK has also gone up a little to 29th (to 76.6% from 75.9% in November), but my numbers have them 57-77 (74%) over this period–how this causes an increase I don’t know, but it does match the team’s overall numbers (I have them at 137-178 on the season, while the AHL has them at 134-175–we both have 41 goals against and the same overall percentages).

Other team numbers: the BSens continued to be consistently outshot (4-17-1 in games prior to this segment, 4-13-1 in it)–over the latter period they gave up 109 more shots than they took (6.05 per game) versus 127 previously (5.77 per game), with the team averaging 25.77 shots per game (versus 28.36 to start the season). As for goals per game, the team scored an anemic 39 (2.16), a huge drop from 2.77 in November (and 3.00 in October). The team has given up 76 goals (4.22) versus 77 previously (3.5).

Individual Performance (December-January)
[Arranged by points-per-game, minus empty-net points which are noted in their totals, with their relative performance increasing/decreasing noted by colour–green is increasing, red is decreasing; players with 6 games or fewer are in italics]
White 0.62 16-5-5-10 (+0.16)
Jaros 0.53 13-1-6-7 (+0.2)
Harpur 0.5 6-1-3-4 (EN) (even)
Werek 0.5 12-3-3-6 (-0.13)
DiDomenico 0.5 16-2-6-8 (-0.5)
McCormick 0.5 18-2-7-9 (+0.05)
Chlapik 0.44 9-3-1-4 (-0.13)
Murray 0.44 18-2-6-8 (+0.04)
Blunden 0.4 15-4-3-7 (EN) (+0.15)
Ciampini 0.4 5-1-1-2 (ECHL 6-1-5-6) (+0.03)
O’Brien 0.38 18-2-5-7 (-0.22)
Gagne 0.31 16-3-2-5 (-0.14)
Paul 0.3 10-2-1-3 (-0.02)
Perron 0.27 18-2-3-5 (-0.18)
Flanagan 0.25 4-0-1-1 (n/a)
Reinhart 0.25 16-2-2-4 (-0.13)
Englund 0.17 17-0-3-3 (+0.04)
Rodewald 0.16 18-1-2-3 (-0.75)
Burgdoerfer 0.16 18-1-2-3 (-0.11)
Randell 0.16 12-0-2-2 (+0.16)
Kelly 0.11 9-0-2-2 (EN) (n/a)
Lajoie 0.06 15-0-1-1 (-0.32)
Erkamps 13-0-0-0 (-0.09)
Sieloff 6-0-0-0 (-0.13)
Dunn 5-0-0-0 (ECHL 6-2-0-2) (-0.33)
Doornbosch 1-0-0-0 (n/a)
Melancon 2-0-0-0 (n/a)
Donaghey (ECHL 13-0-0-0) (n/a)

Many of these players suffered through long scoring slumps and some of the positive/negative comparisons are related to small sample size or slight changes. The biggest changes come from Rodewald, DiDomenico, Lajoie, and O’Brien (on the negative side) and Jaros and White on the positive. For context, here are the season-to-date totals (minimum 10 games played, prospects in blue, veterans in purple):

DiDomenico 0.6 20-5-8-13 6 PPP (empty-net)
Werek 0.58 31-9-10-19 6 PPP (empty-net)
White 0.55 29-8-8-16 5 PPP
Chabot 0.53 13-2-5-7 5 PPP
Chlapik 0.53 30-6-10-16 7 PPP
Harpur 0.5 10-2-4-6 2 PPP (empty-net)
O’Brien 0.5 38-9-10-19 3 PPP
McCormick 0.47 38-5-15-20 3 PPP (2 empty-net)
Rodewald 0.46 30-6-8-14 1 PPP
Jaros 0.42 28-2-10-12 5 PPP
Murray 0.42 33-5-9-14 5 PPP
Gagne 0.39 38-12-3-15 3 PPP
Ciampini 0.38 21-3-5-8
Perron 0.36 38-4-11-15 3 PPP (empty-net)
Blunden 0.36 19-4-4-8 1 PPP (empty-net)
Paul 0.33 24-2-6-8 2 PPP
Reinhart 0.32 37-7-6-13 2 PPP (empty-net)
Burgdoerfer 0.22 40-3-6-9 3 PPP
Lajoie 0.21 28-0-6-6 4 PPP
Dunn 0.21 14-0-3-3
Englund 0.15 39-0-6-6
Sieloff 0.1 28-1-2-3
Kelly 0.08 12-0-2-2 (empty-net)
Randell 0.06 32-1-2-3 (empty-net)
Erkamps 0.04 24-0-1-1

For any Nick Paul fans out there…yikes! I’m not sure he’ll ever be more than he is (an occasional call-up). This isn’t his rookie or sophomore season, this is year three of his ELC, and he just can’t put up the numbers.

On a more positive note, let’s look at a couple key players who have spent much of the season in Ottawa and see what impact they’ve had on the team when they’ve been in Belleville (Chabot and Harpur have never been in the lineup at the same time, incidentally):

Thomas Chabot 4-8-1, PP 8-63 (12.7%), PK 48-60 (80%), GF 34 (2.61), shots 381 (29.3)
Ben Harpur 7-3-0, PP 7-30 (23.3%), PK 23-32 (71.8%), GF 32 (3.2), shots 267 (26.7)

Don’t get too excited about data from the small sample size (the winning percentage for Harpur is an excellent illustration of that), but there are a few interesting nuggets here: Chabot adds more shots, as you’d expect, but his impact on the PK versus Harpur is interesting (he didn’t play much on the PK, but his presence meant the blueliners who did were kept in their role).

Finally, let’s take a look at goaltending. None of the men between the pipes have played especially well over this period, although they’ve all had their moments:
Marcus Hogberg 2-2-0 .882 3.75 (ECHL 3-2-0 .939 2.13)
Danny Taylor 1-3-0 .878 3.33
Andrew Hammond 2-4-1 .868 4.37
Chris Driedger 1-2-0 .859 4.50

These are all terrible save percentages, but the fact that they are all low indicates problems with team defense as much as issues with the goaltenders themselves.

I’ve criticized the coaching all season long, but I want to make it clear that better usage wouldn’t make the BSens a good team, it would just be a little better and prospects would get more opportunities–the latter is what’s most important in a year where the team has no chance of making the playoffs.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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