We've nearly reached the end of our 2013 Prediction Panel, where the Silver Seven staff take a look at some of the biggest questions we think are facing the Ottawa Senators and try to fill in the blanks with knowledge! We've already looked at a key battle among forwards, the team's depth at goaltending, what defensemen from the AHL might stick, and the fate of our beloved captain.
Tomorrow, the season starts, so really, there's just one question left to ask, and it's the one almost all of us whiffed on last year. Did last year make believers out of any of us besides Adnan? Silver Seven staff, where will the Senators finish the regular season in the standings?
I think we will likely be ahead of Toronto, Montréal, the Islanders, Winnipeg, New Jersey, Florida and Buffalo. Between Carolina, Tampa Bay we might finish ahead of one of them. I am going to go with seventh. The loss of Cowen hurts, but with the addition of Silfverberg and another year of experience for the younger players, I expect the team to do well enough for a playoff spot.
The team lost Cowen, and they're going to eat a lot of shots because of it, but I also think there's a lot of things in their favor that can all be summed up in one word: Continuity. The Senators were fortunate to have many players overseas playing games. Sergei Gonchar, for instance, has already played in 37. And the return of head coach Paul MacLean and staff can't be understated. The team struggled badly in the early parts of last season as they adapted to the new coach. That roadblock is gone now. I think we'll see the Senators leap out to a fast start and then hang on to reach the playoffs as the eighth seed for another year.
I'm going with 11th in the conference. There are a lot of divisional games this season, and I think Montreal has a bounce back year with Markov healthy, Toronto trades for a goalie (maybe not Luongo) and isn't awful, Buffalo bounces back, and Boston is predictably awesome. Ottawa ends up tough in this division.
I'm going to go ahead and predict a seventh-place finish and a first-round matchup against the dreaded Boston Bruins.
The realist in me is figuring ninth, the homer is pushing for sixth. Fortunately, I'm about 75/25 Homer/Realist and so Ottawa will finish seventh and the season goes until Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Man, do I hate the Penguins, who will beat the Sens.
8th in the east.
The Sens will finish 7th in the East; they'll be in the playoff hunt all year, so there won't be any needless discussion of "should Alfie move to a contender?"
Senators will finish the regular season 9th in the standings. I just don't think the defense is good enough, unfortunately.
I'll say 8th. I've been thinking anywhere from 7-9 is reasonable, so let's pick the middle. Either get New York or Pens in the first round again, but that's how she goes.
What a difference a year makes, huh? Last season, we were talking lottery picks. This season, we're talking playoffs. Where do you think the Sens will end up this season?