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Sterling Predictions: Zack Smith vs. Jean-Gabriel Pageau

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Which presumptive third-liner will score more goals?

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Florida Panthers
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Who will finish with more goals, Zack Smith or Jean-Gabriel Pageau? For reference, both set career-highs last season, with Smith scoring 25 and Pageau scoring 19. Bonus: predict the final number of goals for each.

Trevor: Both of these guys are good players, but I think their numbers will regress. Pageau gets more goals with 15, and Smith gets 11.

Ary: With Smith likely starting in the top-six, I’ll say him. I think they’re both going to get double-digit totals (18 for Smith, 15 for Pageau) but the extra ice-time and potential PP time for Smith may help him trounce Pageau here. Smith has two prior NHL seasons with 14 and 13 goals and doesn’t get injured often, so although I don’t think he’ll be in the 20+ goal range, the upper teens seems like an okay estimate.

Callum: Five times in his career, Zack Smith has finished a season with more goals than assists. He's obviously a more shot-oriented player than Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Plus, with him scoring 25 last year, I think his linemates will be more reluctant to set him up. I'll go against the grain of my previous projection and say Smith will record 16 and Pageau will have 15.

Peter: Based on last week's games, Zack Smith might have the inside track on the top-six spot that opened up with Clarke MacArthur's injury--if he plays a good part of the season with Bobby Ryan and Derick Brassard, I'd expect him to come close to matching last season's totals despite the ridiculous shooting percentage that led to them. I will say Z. Smith puts up 18 goals, while Pageau pots 17.

NKB: Now that Clarke McArthur's return to the line-up seems uncertain, Zack Smith may find himself with some added offensive opportunities. It'll be close, but time spent in the top 6 will push Smith over the top. Smith finishes with 17, Pageau with 15. Both totals should be considered a success if they come to pass, by the way.

Ross: I thought people would have more faith in Pageau. Anyway, I’m picking Z. Smith to come out on top. As much as we talk about him regressing, how about Pageau scoring seven shorthanded goals, beating 16 NHL teams (and tying six others)? I think Smith will get more offensive opportunities, and continue to show more of a nose for the net. I predict Smith gets 17, and Pageau gets 11.

Ian: Smith will grab his second straight 20-goal season with a total of 24 goals. On the other hand, Pageau will come up just shy with 19 goals.

Michaela: Zack Smith had a great season last year, but I don't see him continuing to score at the pace he was towards the end of the season. That being said, he'll probably see more time on the wing, with the centre position pretty well filled at this point. Pageau will get 17 goals, Smith will finish with 14.