With the regular season kicking off this week, it’s time for the site’s yearly tradition of prognostication. In part one of our Sterling Predictions feature, the staff takes a stab at guessing who’s going to do all the scoring and who’s going to play all the shifts among other things:
1) With the departures of Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, and Matt Duchene, the crown of Sens’ leading scorer is up for grabs. Who will lead the team in scoring this year, and how many points will they record?
Ross: It’ll be Colin White. Thomas Chabot will get tough defensive shifts, Brady Tkachuk’s style of play will see him miss 20 games, and that leaves Colin White as the lead scorer.
Brandon: I believe the Senators, as a whole, will score more goals this season. If everyone stays healthy(ish), I think Thomas Chabot will hit 60 points, and Colin White will be a close second — with Brady not far behind.
Dewie: I imagineThomas Chabot will be the consensus, and I have him in the 70 point range. I’ll go out on a limb and say Duclair has a chance to surprise everyone and be second or third on that list, depending on how well Colin White does.
Colin: I think Brady Tkachuk will lead the team in scoring, although it’ll be a relatively low total with 52 points. As long as he has someone on his line who can get the puck in the general vicinity of the opposition’s net, he’ll be putting up points.
Ary: I’ll go with Thomas Chabot -- 55 points!
nkb: I’ll be surprised if it’s anyone but Chabot this season. I foresee 57 points for the rearguard.
2) Thomas Chabot is virtually guaranteed to play the most minutes of any Ottawa Senator this year but who will be second?
Ross: Nikita Zaitsev will, as Chabot’s most common partner.
Brandon: Nikita Zaitsev and Chabot will be attached at the hip, so his minutes will be second only to Hotsam’s.
Dewie: However many minutes Chabot gets, Zaitsev won’t be too far off.
Colin: Whoever ends up being Chabot’s partner. That looks to be Nikita Zaitsev at the moment, although it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ron Hainsey in that role at some point. Both are far from ideal.
Ary: His likely partner, Nikita Zaitsev. He’s likely to get special teams minutes too on the penalty kill (for sure), and on the powerplay (PP2) when needed.
nkb: I’ll go off the board here and say Dylan DeMelo, who I believe will reclaim his (rightful) place as Chabot’s partner.
3) Brady Tkachuk had an outstanding rookie season but there is some worry he might struggle in his sophomore season without Stone to boost his offensive production. Will Tkachuk top last season’s 45 points? Will he break the 25 goal mark?
Ross: Not quite. He’ll finish with 21 goals and 43 points.
Brandon: Brady still put up points after the Stone trade, so I don’t think there’s any cause for concern. He may encounter a sophomore slump at some point, but I’ll say Brady hits 50 points.
Dewie: I’m not too worried about Tkachuk. He may need an adjustment period, but I think he’ll get going soon enough to hit the 25 goal mark. I’ll be an optimist and say he’ll find his groove with Connor Brown, and hit the 45 point mark again.
Colin: I think he’ll break 50 points, although 25 goals might be a bit too lofty. His style is so consistent that I don’t see him falling into a sophomore slump.
Ary: I think he’ll come close, but will fall just short at the ~42 point mark. He’ll hit 20 goals, but won’t reach 25.
nkb: Tkachuk will have a strong sophomore campaign but this team is going to struggle badly to score goals, and so he’ll just miss last season’s totals. I’m envisioning 22 goals and 22 assists for 44 points.
4) Craig Anderson appears to be the number one option to start the season, but will the 38 year-old make the most appearances of any Sens goalie this year? If not him, then who?
Ross: Anders Nilsson will just edge him out, starting 40 games to Andy’s 38.
Brandon: I think that by mid-season, Anders Nilsson will emerge as the clear-cut starter. I love Andy, he’s the best goaltender in franchise history, but he’s been looking every bit of his age. There’s a chance the team will still give him the bulk of starts out of respect, but I suspect Nilly will just barely squeak by him.
Dewie: Craig Anderson is much better when he’s well rested. Nilsson can handle a good chunk of the games. I’ll say 37 games for Andy and 45 for Nilsson.
Colin: Even from the get-go it doesn’t seem certain that he’s the Sens’ #1 starting goalie. Anders Nilsson will end up playing a handful more games, although I don’t expect this year’s goaltending situation to be pretty.
Ary: I think Anderson and Nilsson will each get around ~35 starts this year, with Hogberg/Daccord working their way in near the end of the season.
nkb: Andy will get the bulk of the starts in the first half, but Nilsson will see more and more of the crease as the team falls out of contention. Nilsson finishes with 42 starts to Anderson’s 35.
5) Which of the Sens’ up and comers (include Batherson, Chlapik and Logan Brown in this group) will play the most games, and which will score the most points for the team this season?
Ross: I’m sticking with Logan Brown, who will play 70 games and score 30 points. Not quite my bold prediction number, but you know, still very good.
Brandon: To me, Drake Batherson is the prospect with the smallest chance of playing in Belleville this season. He’s already proven he’s above that level, so now the question will be finding his game in Ottawa. I think Batherson will play the most games, and hit 40 points.
Dewie: I think Logan Brown will play the most games but Batherson score the most goals. I have (maybe) unjustified high expectations of The Drake!
Colin: Does Scott Sabourin count? The way things are trending he could end up playing a lot of games. Of the rookies, however, I think Drake Batherson scores the most with 40 points. His pre-season may not have been pretty, but his point-per-game season in the AHL didn’t come out of nowhere.
Ary: Drake Batherson, with 70 games and 35 points.
nkb: I’ll play a hunch with this one and say Filip Chlapik plays 78 games and totals 38 points.