The Senators have re-signed their last remaining free agent, agreeing to terms with forward Ryan Dzingel on a two-year contract.
Tim Wharnsby broke the news on Twitter and reported that the Senators avoided arbitration with Dzingel and settled on a two-year deal that carries an average annual value of $1.8-million.
Keep in mind that Dzingel filed for $1.95-million while the Senators made a corresponding file with the arbitrator for $1.0-million.
I’m a little surprised that the Senators settled on a deal where the average annual value is closer to Dzingel’s original ask than their own, especially since Dzingel has relatively little NHL experience.
By NHL standards, he’s not really that young of a player however – which admittedly feels weird to write considering he’s just 25 years old — but as an NCAA product who spent three seasons playing for Ohio State, Dzingel turned professional at an older age than his Canadian Hockey League counterparts.
Since evidence shows that a modern player’s prime is typically between 22 and 27 years of age, Dzingel fits right into that range.
Because of his lack of NHL experience, there’s hope that there’s still room for growth in his game because he’s now adjusted and can enjoy the comfort and security that comes with a multi-year, one-way contract.
He started the 2016-17 campaign on fire, scoring four goals and seven points in his first seven games.
He wound up finishing the season scoring ten more goals and 25 points in his next 74 games, but there is a lot to like about Dzingel’s game.
In a way, he reminds me of Carl Hagelin.
He has never been much of a volume shooter, but historically he’s a speedster who scores on a high percentage of shots.
In 119 AHL games spread across three seasons, Dzingel scored 31 goals on 231 shots on goal for a 13.65-percent success rate and at the NHL level, he’s a career 11.6-percent shooter. It’s also worth noting that his production has improved with each passing year at every level that he has played at.
And relative to his ice time, he’s one of the most productive players on the team. Only Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and Kyle Turris had higher points per 60 minutes of five-on-five ice time than Dzingel’s 1.66.
Dzingel added some versatility playing up and down the Senators’ lineup, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that his production playing away from his most consistent centre Kyle Turris.
With numbers from HockeyAnalysis.com, here is a table depicting how Dzingel fared at five-on-five playing with and without Turris:
|With Kyle Turris||
|Without Kyle Turris||
It’s hard to pinpoint why there were struggles with Turris. I suppose it’s possible that as Dzingel ascended the lineup when injuries beset the club, the combination of regression and tougher matchups may have harmed him. (For what it’s worth, Dzingel had excellent numbers alongside Derick Brassard, who had some of the best underlying numbers on the team.)
Considering his second most frequent linemate was Bobby Ryan, who struggled mightily throughout the 2016-17 regular season before catching fire in the playoffs, perhaps Ryan’s struggles may have negatively impacted the line as a whole.
Whatever the case, rolling the dice on Dzingel for another two years at that AAV isn’t exactly a high risk play.
On a team that generally lacks speed, Dzingel provides it in spades and if he can get more comfortable and find another level of production, there’s a great chance that this contract will be a bargain.