So far in our Sterling Predictions series, we’ve covered who the staff thinks will lead the team in scoring, what Pierre Dorion might get up to at the trade deadline, and which of the star rookies will shine the brightest. In the series finale, we’re tackling the most important question of them all.
After all the off-season changes, strip away the hype: have the Ottawa Senators done enough to make the play-offs? What will their record be at the end of the season?
Spencer: Many of my predictions have been dripping with optimism so I’m going to flip the script and say the Sens have done enough to play meaningful games down to the wire but ultimately miss the playoffs in a tough Atlantic Division. They will finish with 92 points, with a record of 43-33-6.
Trevor: If they add a top-4 defenseman like Chychrun, they’d definitely be good enough to be a playoff team. Even as it stands, they have a shot to make it however lots need to go right. I’ll say they finish 5th in the Atlantic but win the 2nd wildcard, barely knocking the Washington Capitals out of a playoff spot. They’ll finish with 96 points and a 44-30-8 record.
Beata: The Sens will finally have a run of good luck, as the Atlantic division doesn’t end up being quite as strong as expected, and they’ll sneak into the second wildcard spot with a 44-32-6 record and 94 points.
Shaan: Not only has Ottawa’s top-six forward group been revamped, but their third forward line and second defensive pair (yes, even with Travis Hamonic!!!) are better than they’ve been in ages. With those improvements, a 45-30-7 record and 97 points will get them into the playoffs.
Ross: Not quite. Sens finish 44-32-6, for 94 points, and lose the ROW tiebreaker for the final playoff spot in a last-minute heartbreak.
Nada: Brady Tkachuk deserves some playoff action; this is the year! I also feel like they’ll be the kind of team who might struggle to play a full 60 early on and could rely a bit on extra time magic. Record of 41-30-11 for 93 points and just enough to get in.
Ary: In no small part because of a tough division, they’ll finish just outside but play meaningful hockey until the end of the season. 42-30-10 for 94 points.
Owen: I’ll say 41-32-9 and the “toughest division in hockey” ends up disappointing so Ottawa squeaks in to the postseason with 91 points.
nkb: When it comes to the Sens’ play-off chances, my head is at odds with my heart. After all these years of watching (and writing about) objectively terrible hockey, I very, very badly want them to qualify for the post-season. At the same time, Ottawa is in a particularly tough division, and they need a lot of things to go right that are far from guarantees. Most places with odds on these types of things have the Sens somewhere between a 20 and 30% shot to make it; that seems about right to me. Sometimes, though, sometimes you just gotta bet on that outside chance that makes you feel warm inside. I’m gonna say almost everything goes right, and the Sens squeak in on the last day of the season with a 44-31-7 record for 95 points.