Tim Stützle is entering this season with the kind of hype we haven’t seen for a Sens prospect since Jason Spezza. What type of production can we expect from the young phenom?
Stützle saw a great degree of success in his rookie season, and the fans certainly had a treat in watching it happen. With varying levels of proximity, the staff all landed close to Stutzle’s total of 29 points in 53 games. That, by the way, comes out to 0.51 points per game, slightly lower than the 0.60 he was sporting at the 30-game mark, but at least it shows he was producing consistently over the course of the season.
We saw predictions ranging from a low of 25 to a high of 40, and Trevor and I ended up just one point off with our guesses of 30. Shout-out to Ross, who with 26 points, would’ve taken this one if Bob Barker was writing this piece.
Thomas Chabot was the team’s workhorse on the blueline last year, but he never found a successful partnership with anyone besides Dylan DeMelo. Will Erik Gudbranson have any more luck, or are we looking at a partner by committee situation again this year?
According to Natural Stat Trick, Chabot played 765 of his +1000 minutes with Nikita Zaitsev, meaning the two were the team’s top defense pair for the second straight season. “Top” refers to the number of minutes, of course, as their results were quite poor; they had a 5v5 expected goals share of 46.72%, and both of them improved when apart from each other. Chabot didn’t play enough with Gudbranson or Zub for us to draw any long-lasting conclusions, but neither saw much success. To that end, the staff was correct in that Gudbranson didn’t last as Chabot’s partner, but we were incorrect in that instead of a defense by committee approach, Zaitsev was Chabot’s main partner. I’d like to see a longer look for Zub on that top pair since he’s been our best right-handed defenseman, and Zaitsev played very well with Victor Mete, generating over 60 percent of the 5v5 expected goals while the two were on the ice.
Connor Brown was maybe the most pleasant surprise last year — who will most exceed our expectations for this year?
As Spencer stated at the halfway point, we were collectively off the mark here, though NKB and Nada’s picks of Drake Batherson and Colin White, respectively, were the most successful. Trevor made up some ground after the trade deadline, though, as Josh Brown was solid in his own end alongside Mete down the stretch.
There’s a lot of potentially correct answers to the above query: Artem Zub becoming a Top-4 defenseman straight out of the KHL, Mete being the waiver-claim of the century, and the emergence of Filip Gustavsson have all been pleasant surprises, but how do you not go with the franchise goal-scoring-streak being broken by a player who famously does everything but score goals? I’ve got to give it to Connor Brown for the back-to-back on this one.
To sum it up, the staff did a considerably better job with these predictions than those in Part One. Everyone was reasonably close on Stützle’s production and the top defense pair, while only a few of our picks for pleasant surprise turned out well. How about you? Let us know whether or not your predictions came true!