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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our choices for most underrated player on the Ottawa Senators.
He has played bits and pieces of hockey for Ottawa in four consecutive seasons. This year was the first he really spent more than a cup of coffee with the Senators and he made the most of his opportunity.
Defense is his calling card and it certainly showed. Of the 10 most used Senators forwards at 5v5, Paul was at or near the top of the list in almost every key defensive metric.
Suppressing shots? Only Tyler Ennis and Chris Tierney did a better job. Limiting quality? Paul did that too. Only J.G. Pageau helped the Senators prevent Expected Goals more efficiently and the difference was almost non-existent (0.01). Meanwhile, Paul ranked 1st in goals against/60. Forget forwards – nobody on the entire roster was more effective at limiting goals.
While hardly an offensive dynamo, Paul also proved capable of chipping in offensively. Brady Tkachuk, Anthony Duclair, and Ennis were the lone Senators who generated 5v5 chances at a higher clip.
He did convert that chance generation into production as he netted the same amount of goals as Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Zach Parise and Evander Kane.
Maybe not underrated in Ottawa, but certainly underrated around the league would be Anthony Duclair. The 24 year old is already playing on his 5th NHL team and had his best season since his first year with the Coyotes.
Despite playing only the 5th most minutes at 5 on 5 among all Senators forwards, Duclair produced the 3rd most goals at evens. He was only one goal behind Pageau and 3 behind Brady Tkachuk. Duclair finished tied for third in total team scoring with 40 points.
Duclair also was a huge shot generator and was only worse than Brown and Tkachuk in generating scoring chances. His 184 shots was third best behind Tkachuk and Chabot. He finished with fewer 5 on 5 shots than Brown but his effectiveness and usage on the powerplay rounded out his numbers. Duclair finished first on his team in PP goals with 5.
Duclair is an RFA this season and the Senators would do well to reward this player with a longer term deal.
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com
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