Sterling Predictions: Opportunity Knocks

The staff has faith in the new Bobby Butler. - USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to this year's Prediction Panel, where the Silver Seven staff blatantly attempt to make guessing look like foresight!

Today we kick off the 2014 Silver Seven Ottawa Senators Prediction Panel. Over the course of the week leading up to the season opener, the staff on the blog will be passing off their opinions as knowledge as we take a look at what might happen in some key areas for the Senators this year.

We start this panel with a look at two players who are both getting prime opportunities. Patrick Wiercioch will be asked to replace the departed Sergei Gonchar, while free agent acquisition Clarke MacArthur is taking over the retired departed Daniel Alfredsson's spot on the second line with Kyle Turris. Last year, Gonchar was second in team scoring with 27P (3G, 24A), while Alfie was third with 26P (10G, 16A). Meanwhile, Wiercioch was tied for fifth with 19P (5G, 14A) and MacArthur scored 20P (8G, 12A) in 40 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. This preaseason, Wiercioch has four points (all assists) in three games, while MacArthur has 3P (2G, 1A) through three games. Both players are going to get chances to put up points.

1) Who will have more points this season, Clarke MacArthur or Patrick Wiercioch? (Bonus: How many points for each?)

Amelia: Clarke MacArthur, but it will be close. MacArthur will have 22 goals and 51 points. Wiercioch will have 10 goals and 42 points.

Mark: I think this will be a lot closer than it appears. MacArthur is the obvious choice because he's the forward, but Wiercioch looks like he'll get top power play minutes with players like Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, and Bobby Ryan. He's going to rack up assists just by passing the puck up the ice. MacArthur's not playing on the top unit unless someone else gets hurt. Still, as good as Wiercioch has looked in the preseason, I think he's going to have his off nights when he doesn't get the luxury of playing against AHL competition, so I'm picking MacArthur with 42 points and Wiercioch to put up a respectable 37.

Adnan: Wiercioch will have have more points (48) than MacArthur (45).

Bonk's Mullet: Clarke MacArthur's 44 points will outmatch Wiercioch's horribly embarrassing sophomore slump of 40 points.

Peter: Clarke MacArthur will have 55 points, Patrick Wiercioch will have 46. So it will be a pretty close race, but MacArthur will come out in the end.

Dave: I have to go with Patrick Wiercioch. The last few seasons, the Senators have seen two D-men and 4 forwards as their top 6 scorers. Gone is Sergei Gonchar, but I think Patty W fills that void, and I can't see MacArthur scoring more than the Sens top 4 forwards. This team is built on offence from the defence, and I think that gives Patty an edge... say 44 points for Patty and 40 for Clarke

Ryan (from somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean): MacArthur. I feel like he'll be consistent while Wiercioch can run hot and cold. MacArthur 40, Wiercioch 30.

Darren: MacArthur. I have to go with the second-line forward over the second pairing-defenseman. MacArthur with 43 points, Wiercioch with 37.

There you have it. Six of us chose MacArthur and two of us chose Wiercioch, but almost everyone hedged it as "close." Wusses.

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