When Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was interviewed by the TSN panel, he left fans scratching their head after mentioning Mark Borowiecki seemingly unprompted. Dorion was asked about the contract progression on UFA Kyle Turris and RFA Mark Stone. He answered by saying that he’s talked to both of their camps and it’s a work in progress. This was music to Sens fans’ ears considering both Turris and Stone are huge contributors to the team. In addition to that, Pierre Dorion threw another name in the mix: Mark Borowiecki.
Mark Borowiecki Doesn’t Deserve Another NHL Deal
While it’s no secret that the Senators organization admires Mark Borowiecki’s role and what he brings, Dorion’s comments were unexpected. Dorion stated that they’ve had talks with Borowiecki’s camp for a new deal. Borowiecki has played with the Senators for four seasons now. While his first season was only 13 games, he played 60 or more games in each of the other three. Borowiecki is not a point scoring machine, and nor is he expected to be. He plays a physical game and gets bottom pairing minutes as expected. Although Sens management might see something in the guy, almost all Ottawa Senators fans do not. He has built a reputation as a slow moving defender who gets caught pinching way too often.
Borowiecki is a defensive liability anyway you look at it. His advanced numbers are horrendous. Possession-wise, and/or Corsi-wise, he’s a disaster. Borowiecki’s Corsi for sat at 48.5% this past season. More than 50 percent of the time when Borowiecki is on the ice, a face-off takes place in the Senators end of the ice. Not only is he terrible in his own end, he puts the Senators in terrible situations. He frequently takes penalties which at times are completely uncalled for. Since the 2014-15 season, Borowiecki leads all NHL defenders in most penalty minutes with 368, averaging 1:52 penalty minutes per game. Players like that rarely ever help your team win, if anything it can lead to defeat.
Why a Mark Borowiecki Extension Wouldn’t Make Sense
If the Senators decide to indeed extend Mark Borowiecki, it’s not a good look down the road. In a best-case scenario, an extension with Borowiecki term wise wouldn’t be any longer than one year. One year deals aren’t something to complain about in most scenarios, but in this situation it would be. All throughout training camp, the brightest parts about the Sens future have mostly been on the blue line. Thomas Chabot is no surprise to anyone at this point. He’s an NHL-ready defenceman who will be on North American ice this year, whether it’s in the NHL or AHL.
Pierre Dorion’s comments definitely left fans frazzled, but if he realizes that the Senators blueline could be deeper than it’s ever been, he most likely won’t extend Mark Borowiecki. He and Guy Boucher will instead look to give the ice-time to a player who is an up and coming one.
Senators Depth On The Blueline
Englund, 21, was a second round pick by the Ottawa Senators in the 2014 NHL Draft. He played for Djurgardens IF in the Swedish league for two years after he was drafted. He made the jump to the AHL in the 2016-17 season, playing for the Senators’ former affiliate the Binghamton Senators. While in Binghamton, he tallied 10 points in 63 games. Once again, not something you get out of your seat for, but it was the defender’s first season on North American ice. He was called up by the Senators for a five game stint last season. During this call up, he didn’t score any points but he looked like what he should look like: a young defender making his way up the depth chart for the Senators’ future.
Englund attended this year’s camp and was definitely not a slouch, but he was sent down due to the lack of room on the blueline for the Senators right now. He’ll look to continue improving his game and hope to crack the Senators roster in 2018.
Lajoie, 19, was drafted by the Senators in the 2016 NHL Draft in the fifth round. He already looks like he’s one of the organization’s best picks from that year. He spent his 2016-17 season in the WHL playing for the Swift Current Broncos, registering 42 points in 68 games, 7 goals along with 35 assists. The Senators signed him to his entry level deal right after he was drafted, and he even got an invitation to the Senators training camp last year. Obviously he didn’t make it, but he looked strong in his outings.
The Ottawa Senators once again invited the 19 year old to training camp this year. He was sent down to the Senators new AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators, early on, but he was noticed for his level of play. Senators head coach Guy Boucher complimented the youngster’s play, saying that he was as outstanding this year as he was last year. Lajoie has an excellent skating technique and is also a very mobile defender. Lajoie is a long term project, but a year down in the AHL will help him develop his game a bit further.
Borowiecki Extension Prohibits Prospects Making The Jump
If Borowiecki is extended, it prohibits both of those defenders as well as any other prospects that may be pushing for a call up from playing in the NHL. The sport of hockey is all about speed and skill nowadays, and players like Mark Borowiecki simply don’t fit into the style of the game.