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The Ottawa Senators Defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker Needs to Improve His Stats

Is Jacob Bernard-Docker playing well enough and show in the stats to warrant moving someone else? The time will come when Mark Kastelic and Ridly Greig are back from injury. Also, Shane Pinto will be eligible to play come late January. So, how many roster moves will the Senators need to make to ice their top lineup? Additionally, they just announced today sending down forward Matthew Highmore.

Beyond the Stats for Jacob Bernard-Docker

At 23 years old, the Ottawa Senators would love the time to be now for Jacob Bernard-Docker to improve his stats. Even in some time at the AHL level, but more so noticeably with Ottawa, Bernard-Docker has not found the form the Sens hoped. The form that made him a Team Canada world junior selection based on his awesome play at the University of North Dakota. In three seasons at UND, he had 95 games played tallying 60 points. Moreover, this play was what landed him in the first round (26th overall) of the 2018 NHL draft. Unfortunately, it has still not panned out for him. Now with pressure coming in the form of roster and salary cap requirements, he needs to perform if he wants to remain an Ottawa Senator.

How Are the Stats on the Play of Jacob-Bernard Docker?

An observer will say he seems to be getting more comfortable with the Senators. It is true, but is a good enough to cause a trade or movement of another roster player? Overall his ice time is up, at 16:52 through 14 games in 2023-24. His previous career high was 16:01 in 19 games last year. We should note that he still only has 46 career NHL games under his belt. Also, he has added 41 professional games with Belleville. One statistic he is strong in this year is blocked shots with 40.

However, there is still much negative in his numbers. His total point share sits at 0.0. This, granted, is somewhat a result of his lack of action, but still, you’d like to see an increase in production. He has an oZS% just over 50 at 50.3%, but his offence does not support the opportunity. He has only chipped in with two assists and has a CF% Rel of -8.8. The fact is the Senators management would need to see more from him. Yes, it would be nice to have patience in a defenceman with fewer than 100 pro games, but the business side of things will direct the decision-making process.

Who Is Coming and Going and When?

Since Thomas Chabot came back, management was forced to shift Kastelic and Greig to LTIR. Conversely, they are getting close to a return to action. This will mean, that one player from the current group with the club will have to be sent down. We saw in Saturday’s game, the Sens went with an 11 and seven alignment, which really hurt JBD’s ice time. One difficulty is, that Jacob Bernard-Docker is the leading candidate to be that player on defence.  The dilemma for the Senators is that this means he will be forced to clear waivers, and risk being claimed by another NHL team. Furthermore, either of the forwards they would wish to send down would also have to clear waivers. The two top picks would be Zack MacEwen and Rourke Chartier.

This still hasn’t considered re-signing Shane Pinto. The thinking is Pinto signs a league minimum contract, given his unique situation. This would mean sending down Kastelic or Greig when that time comes. Greig is eligible to be sent down in terms of being waiver-exempt. But that is not ideal, given his play, you want him as your third centre. In any case, the Sens would love a big injection or shakeup to their lineup. At 9-10-0, and a very busy December ahead of them, they need a spark. Jacob Bernard-Docker needs to make his presence felt, be more of an impact player, and bump up his stats. There are plenty of defenceman in Belleville ready once the bell rings. Tyler Kleven is another highly-sought after prospect or also, Max Guenette. You may recall Guenette was a late cut in camp, and would love a chance in the show.

Main photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports


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