Taking a look at a few underrated players on the Ottawa Senators


I have been bullish on the Senators since the preseason, as evidenced by my Dobber Experts League draft where I landed Spezza, Michalek and Karlsson to my squad, Hejda’s Gonna Hate. My slow start in the Experts league coincides nicely with the Senator’s slow start to the season, but both of us are slowly climbing up the standings. There are a couple of reasons that I am big on Ottawa this year:

I love the shoot-first mentality that is coached in Ottawa. I think that it is a great strategy for a real-life NHL hockey team and I KNOW that it is a great strategy in fantasy hockey. Shots is a category in most leagues, but there is also a strong correlation between shots and points. Generally speaking, if a player is a shooter there is a good chance that he will have value in fantasy hockey.

I have been dabbling quite a bit in advanced stats recently and without going too deep into the details, the “fancy stats” have shown that the Sens are a good team. They were 5th in the NHL in puck possession (corsi) last year, which is a stat that is largely associated with team success (Chicago and Pittsburgh were #1 and #2 last season). This is enough evidence for me to believe that the Senator’s unexpected success last season was no fluke.

They were a tough team to beat last season despite having many key injuries. Give me a team that was already good and add a full season from Spezza and Karlsson as well as an addition of Bobby Ryan? Yes please!

Because of the team and the philosophy, I knew that there was going to be some good fantasy value on Ottawa this season and predictably some of the top names are coming through. Erik Karlsson is the 6th most valuable player in the Dobber Experts league while Bobby Ryan is 13th (as calculated by Fantasy Hockey Geek) and Jason Spezza is doing what Jason Spezza does (16 points in 15 games).

You don’t come here to read that Spezza and Ryan are good though, so let’s see who else is performing for Ottawa. I ran the Dobber Experts League through Fantasy Hockey Geek  so we can take a look at some of the secondary players whose fantasy value is on the rise playing with the 2013 Sens.

(16 team Yahoo! roto league measuring: G, A, +/-, SOG, PPP, Hits)



FHG Rank









Kyle Turris








Clarke MacArthur








Chris Phillips







Kyle Turris:

I only put Kyle’s name here because I didn’t want people to think I forgot him, but it’s officially time to stop calling this guy “secondary”. He is currently playing at a point per game clip, contributing on the top power-play and centering what is arguably now Ottawa’s best line.  Fantasy Hockey Geek currently ranks him as the 30th most valuable player in the Experts League. This value is inflated slightly by a massive +13, but Turris is also contributing across all other categories. He was a very nice 13th round (201 overall) pull by Chris Wassel. It could be argued that Turris is currently outperforming Spezza in the Experts league as well as for the Sens thus far. If you can believe it, Turris is only 65% owned in Yahoo! leagues right now.


Clarke MacArthur:

I had identified Macarthur as a dark horse as soon as the Senator acquired him. If you want to know why, you could just go back to my Grabovski article and basically repeat the same points I made there. Macarthur is a great possession guy - currently eighth(!) in the league in corsi. He is hitting and shooting at a decent rate and he is now playing on the Sens top power-play. He is currently on pace for 60 points and I think he will hit that. The Turris-Macarthur-Ryan line has been the Sens best line this season and actually one of the better lines in the NHL Ryan has always received the attention and Turris is starting to get noticed, but MacArthur is still only 10% owned. In Yahoo! leagues. He is worth the add.


Chris Phillips:

Phillips has historically been one of those “better in real life than he is in fantasy” guys. In the current Sens system though, that status is changing. Phillips’ value has benefited greatly from the increased focus on shooting. For his career, Phillips has averaged 1.2 shots per game but over the past two seasons that average is up 50% (to 1.8). Not bad for a guy who will be 36 before the season ends.

Phillips is lining up with Erik Karlsson at even strength as well as the power-play. Three of his points have come with the man advantage, always a valuable thing in fantasy hockey. Phillips is never going to be a fantasy juggernaut, but he is certainly worthy of being more than 4% owned. He has worked his way up to Dennis Seidenberg type output (FHG calculates Seidenberg’s value as 121st), but Phillips is available in 6 times as many leagues as Seids is and Phillips is actually the one seeing better opportunities. Seidenberg has seen just over 8 minutes on the power-play all season long, while Phillips is almost at 28. I personally packaged Seidenberg in one of my leagues, knowing that I could replace him with Phillips for free from the waiver wire and not be losing much if anything.

Turris, MacArthur and Phillips are three great examples of players whose names may not be as prominent, but can still provide your fantasy team with great production. The beauty of these guys is that they have been putting up these solid numbers despite what has been considered a slo1w start by the Senators. I personally think that the Sens have another gear to hit this year and will emerge as one of the better Eastern conference teams this season and if/when they do, it will be thanks in large part to some of the great secondary options such as the ones I have outlined here.


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