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Sterling Predictions: Ottawa Senators Penalty Kill and Powerplay

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Will the Sens continue their struggles on special teams?

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Q: Last season, the Sens were 26th in the league in powerplay percentage (15.8%) and 29th in the league in penalty kill percentage (75.8%). Do you see the Sens moving out of bottom-five in the league in either or both of these categories? Bonus: what rank in the NHL will the Sens finish in each?

Trevor: There's no way the PP and PK are just as bad as they were last year, right? Boucher is a very smart coach, and the additions of Derick Brassard and Chris Kelly should help. I can see their powerplay being above average, although the penalty kill still won't be great (but out of the bottom five). Powerplay rank: 10. Penalty kill rank: 21.

Ary: I do! I think their powerplay will bounce back to be an above average one, with the team finishing between 10th-15th (I’ll go with 13th for now). There’s way too much talent on the roster to have a bottom-five powerplay, especially with Stone healthy and Brassard’s left-handed option allowing the team to run a strategy that isn’t just "give the puck to Erik Karlsson".

In 2014-15, with basically the same personnel, the Sens PK% was 82.9% — good enough for 11th in the league. Now, a lot of that was based off of a ridiculously high goaltender PKSV%, but I think the Sens can be around 18th in the league.

Callum: Ottawa will not only have a respectable power play, but one of the better ones in the league. The addition of Derick Brassard is huge for the first unit, and having a coach that wants an elevated and high pace strategy on the man advantage will have a big impact on their success, as well. With a projection of Stone, Karlsson, Brassard, Ryan and Hoffman on the first unit, how do you not say that it sounds like a recipe for success? I'll predict that their penalty kill will improve slightly, but will still be lacking. Power play will be 9th in the league and the penalty kill will be 26th.

Peter: I could definitely see improvement in the team's powerplay effectiveness, if the Brassard acquisition pans out as we all hope it will. There may be a slight uptick in penalty killing, but I'm not sure enough has been done to get the team out of the league's bottom five.

NKB: The addition of Brassard makes for a much more balanced power play, so I think they'll make it up to the middle of the pack with the man advantage. It's hard to imagine their penalty kill being more disorganized than last year so I'll be generous and say they make it up to 20th this season.

Ross: Boucher prides himself on his ability to construct a powerplay, and given the pure offensive weapons the Sens possess, I have a hard time seeing them not move up. I’m gonna say they’ll go all the way up to 10th in the league. The penalty kill is another story. On the other hand, the Sens have brought in 35-year-old Chris Kelly to solidify the penalty kill... and that’s it. The defence corps is the same as the one that ended last year. I think they’ll move all the way up to 27th in the league.

Ian: If the top powerplay unit stays healthy, the Sens should end up in the middle of the pack, I'd predict 15th. Thanks to some stellar play by Craig Anderson, I'm optimistic that they'll climb out of the penalty kill basement and finish in 20th spot in the league.

Michaela: I like to think that the PP and PK percentages last season had a lot to do with the team not trusting the defence (whose performance spoke for itself). Boucher will hopefully help this team play a stronger defensive game, which will also result in better special teams play. Essentially, it can't get any worse, so I see them getting out of the bottom five, but likely sitting between 18th-22nd in both categories.