Welcome back to the 2011-12 Silver Seven Ottawa Senators Pre-Season Prediction Panel. Over the course of the week leading up to the season opener, the staff on the blog will be taking a look at some of the biggest questions facing the Sens heading into this season.
Goaltending has historically been a huge weakness for the Sens, but team brass hopes they've solved the problem with our newest number one. Speaking of whom: How many games will Craig Anderson play this season, and how many of those games will he win?
Anderson was brought here to play the bulk of the games and he will do just that. I don't think it will be quite as high as the seventy games range with the combination of Alex Auld and Robin Lehner starting twenty games. I say Anderson starts sixty-two games and plays a total of sixty-five games of which he wins thirty.
Anderson will start 65 games, and he'll win 26.
I'm going to go all Price is Right on Darren and say 66 games. Lehner starts none this year. BOOM. (And I'll say 29 wins)
Andy's used to a heavy workload, so you've got to think that as long as his health holds up Paul MacLean will use him very heavily. Still, Alex Auld is a capable backup, and should see a few games of his own. I expect Anderson to play about 67 games this season, and he should be able to pull down about 32 wins in that span.
Anderson will play sixty. Auld can handle a sizable workload, and with the number of back-to-back games in the schedule, he'll see a fair share. Anderson will win thirty-one games.
Auld was brought in to start a sizeable number of games (otherwise, why pay $1M when you can pay $600,000?), but with Anderson representing the Senators' sole chance of winning most nights, I think that, barring injury, he starts most of the games. He'll start 72, and win 36 - half - of those.
Craig Anderson is a workhorse and Paul MacLean has not been shy about admitting that he thinks Anderson will (barring injury) start between 60-70 games this season. Because I never like to predict an injury for anybody, I'm going to assume an injury free season and say Anderson starts 68 games this season, which would have tied him for 5th in the NHL last season. I see him winning (hopefully) as many as 33 games for the Sens this season.
68 games played, 32 wins. We saw against Boston that Anderson can stand on his head and outright steal a game, and last season he was one of the best in the league at shootouts. I said 32 wins, but it wouldn't shock me if he won more. He'll probably screw the Senators out of a better draft pick again this season.
We're all pretty optimistic that Anderson's health will hold up, with predictions ranging from 60 to 72 games this season, winning anywhere from 26 to 36 of those games. What do you think? This isn't a poll-friendly question, so elaborate on your thoughts in the comments section.