The weeks leading up to the regular season are great, because I love writing about, talking about, and reading about predictions.
This post is a bit different than a normal predictions post, although it’s not unfamiliar. Halfway through the 2015-16 season I posted some over/under’s for the rest of the way, and it’s interesting looking back at them knowing exactly what happened.
I’ll be doing the same thing today, as I have listed eight numbers that you can either take the over or the under for. Hopefully the line I set is close to being fair, as I’d like some debate in the comments.
Bobby Ryan points: 36.5—Under
Ryan finished with just 25 points in 62 games last season, although he played like someone with a chip on his shoulder in the playoffs. I’m still not confident that that sample is more indicative of the kind of player he is now, so I’m not expecting very much from Ryan this season.
That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have to do much, but I think somewhere around 30-35 points is realistic. I hope I am wrong though, because Ottawa desperately needs secondary scoring.
Thomas Chabot’s spot in rookie voting: 5.5—Over (as in better)
I love Chabot. Like I’ve said many times, I think he can quickly become the team’s best defenseman not named Erik Karlsson. Defensemen rarely win the Calder, so I don’t think he will have quite that level of success, but I can certainly see him finishing fifth in overall voting.
Kyle Turris’ new cap hit: $6.25M—Under
*can answer N/A for this as well
Although Turris wants to get a massive deal from the Senators, I can’t see it happening. That doesn’t mean this is his last season as a Senator though, as I’m sure both sides want to get a deal done. I’m hoping for a cap hit around $6M, or maybe a shade above that. For a guy who can get 55-60 points, that’s fair for both sides. Anything closer to the $7M range would be a bit much.
Team powerplay rank (out of 30): 20.5—Under
For reference, Ottawa finished 23rd last season with 17%. In the playoffs, it was even worse at 11.5%. While I am excited at the possibility of Chabot improving the powerplay, not much else has changed with this group. There could be some good fortune involved, but I still see it as a bottom ten group.
Colin White games played: 55.5—Over
White will be out until sometime in November, but with other injuries likely to occur, I think he will be in the lineup for most of the time after that. It looks like Logan Brown will get some games with the Senators to prove himself, but I’m not sure if he ultimately sticks past nine games. Even if he does stay, I think White will play well enough that Guy Boucher will play him at least on the fourth line in a safe role.
I don’t think he will have the same impact that Chabot will, but I think he can help the bottom-six.
Mike Condon’s SV%: .910—Under
Anyone care to guess Condon’s career SV% in 96 games? It’s .908. And yes, he was better last year at a rate of .914, but I can easily see a dip in performance. Obviously pre-season games mean very little, but his seven goals allowed on Monday don’t exactly help my fears of him declining this year.
I’m well aware that he broke down in consecutive seasons due to a heavy workload, but it’s hard to conclude that if he gets a “normal” backup schedule he’ll do any better. I’ll say his SV% ends up around .905, which hopefully does not cost them too many games.
Team point total: 93.5—Under
I’ll go with the most controversial opinion of this article and say that Ottawa misses the playoffs by a few points. They’ll end up with 88 points due to a regression in luck in one-goal games. Nothing about their results last year screamed “lucky” besides their ability to win close games, because their special teams, shooting percentage, and save percentage were all at normal rates.
I’m hoping they can continue a wave of good fortune and have guys like Thomas Chabot, Colin White, Logan Brown, and Fredrik Claesson step up, but it’s hard to ignore the facts. Just like with Ryan’s point prediction, I hope I’m wrong.
Erik Karlsson Norris Trophies: 0.5—Over
I don’t care if he’s going to miss some games to begin the season, Karlsson is the best defenseman in the NHL, and it seems like everybody has finally realized that. I wouldn’t bet against him, although it is a tad worrisome that he has to come back from another painful injury. Furthermore, I may be going against my own predictions here, because voters don’t like picking Norris winners who did not make the playoffs...
So there they are, it should be interesting looking back at these in a few months, and at the end of the season as well.