The NHL Draft has come and gone, and free agency has begun. With the offseason fully underway, it’s a perfect time for fans and bettors at Ontario sportsbooks to consider the state of professional hockey ahead of the 2023-24 season — including where the Ottawa Senators fit into that picture.
The Sens failed to reach the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year, but they improved their record to 39-25-8 last season — their first campaign above .500 since 2016-17, when they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference final.
For several years, the struggling Senators have been among the chippiest and most aggressive franchises in pro hockey. Meanwhile the league-wide trend has seen the number of hits and fights dropping year to year across the NHL.
How We Determined Our List
Here at OntarioBets.com, your home for the best sports betting apps Ontario, we were wondering if this aggressiveness is really the most effective strategy for Ottawa to pursue.
To find out we looked at the most aggressive teams in the NHL during the 2022-23 season — ranking the top 10 based on MoneyPuck.com’s recording of hits per NHL team and HockeyFights.com’s database of how many NHL fights each team participated in last season.
Based on these data points, here’s our ranking of the top 10 most aggressive NHL teams.
Most Aggressive NHL Teams in 2022-23 Season
Senators Top Aggressiveness Chart
Well, at least the Ottawa Senators are No. 1 in something!
As to the question of whether aggressiveness on the ice leads to success in today’s NHL, that does not appear to be the case for the Ottawa Senators. But for those who still believe grit wins hockey games, you can bet the Sens to win next year’s Stanley Cup at +7500 with the Caesars Ontario Sportsbook.
In fact, since the 2019-20 season, the Senators have ranked either first or second in total hits during the NHL regular season. Not surprisingly, this time period has coincided with the Brady Tkachuk era in Ottawa.
The Senators captain is the rare breed of NHLer who can rack up goals, assists and hits on the stat sheet. Last season, Tkachuk had 83 total points and 242 hits. The winger also spent 126 minutes in the penalty box — third-most in the NHL. The exhilarating young star made headlines throughout the year with his on-ice antics.
Tkachuk Among Leaders in Physical Play
In his 300th career game, a December matchup against the New York Rangers, Tkachuk earned a Gordie Howe Hat Trick — logging a goal, an assist, and a fight within a single contest. He scored twice; one goal tied the score in the third period and his second won it in OT. Then in a February game against Detroit, Tkachuk personally challenged every member of the Red Wings’ bench to a fight. None of them responded.
All told, Tkachuk got caught up in eight tilts during the 2022-23 season, according to hockeyfights.com. That was second on the team to wing Austin Watson, who fought 14 times last year.
The most violent Sens game last season was on April 6, when the team flew to Florida for a 7-2 drubbing from the Panthers. Four total fights broke out during the affair that also saw the Senators fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. They were officially eliminated after the loss. The Panthers, on the other hand, made the Stanley Cup final, where they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights.
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