One of my favourite traditions here at Silver Seven is the Sterling Predictions feature. At the start of each season, the staff takes our best guesses at the season to come — and we’re often horribly wrong. Nonetheless, it’s fun to re-visit our predictions; if only to keep us humble.
This year we had four different sets of predictions. I’ve laid out each of the questions the staff had to answer below, and provided a quick check-in on who got what right...and wrong.
Who will lead the team in scoring? Will Brady Tkachuk return in time to defend his crown?
In the first of our Sterling Predictions, the staff was pretty well split when answering the question of who we thought would lead the team in scoring. Three picked Drake Batherson (Owen, Nada, nkb), two chose Thomas Chabot (Shaan and Ary), two picked Josh Norris (Trevor and Beata) and one vote for Tkachuk (Ross). As of this writing, Batherson leads the team in scoring but given the extended time he’s expected to miss it looks like Tkachuk is poised to retain his crown. I suppose he shouldn’t count his chickens before they’re hatched but you can probably chalk one up for the savvy vet, Ross.
Who will be the first player traded? Are the Sens buyers or sellers at the deadline?
In the second of our predictions, we tackled the question of who would be the first player traded. We’ll have to mark this one as “incomplete” for now, as Ottawa has (perhaps surprisingly) yet to trade a significant player off their roster (no, Kole Sherwood doesn’t count). Two things we can say for sure, however, is that almost all of the staff were wrong about Ottawa trading Nick Holden, and that the Sens are very likely to be sellers at the deadline given the near impossibility of a play-off berth. We’ll check back on this one at the end of the year!
Will Matt Murray rebound and regain his form from his time in Pittsburgh? Who starts the most games in net for Ottawa this year?
Ahh, the Murray question: has there been any player who has more dramatically changed his situation in the last four weeks than the Sens’ defacto franchise goalie? When we answered the question, the staff were not exactly enthused about the prospect of Murray getting the bulk of the starts in net but all agreed he’d lead the way in appearances. After his first six games, before his exile to Belleville, we wouldn’t have been wrong to be worried. However, since the calendar flipped to 2022 and Murray rejoined the NHL squad he’s posted a .924 SV% across all situations in seven games. That’s pretty darned good! If he keeps up this level of play, it also seems quite likely that he will be seeing the majority of the starts the rest of the way.
While we are on the topic, and because we get so many wrong and I’m the one writing the article, shout-out to my own damn self for predicting Murray’s .910 SV% exactly on the button. Shaan and Owen both mentioned .910 as possibilities, but within a range. I just straight up Nostradramus’d it. I’ll be auctioning off my lottery picks in the comments section below.
What will the Sens’ record be at the end of the season? Do they make the play-offs? If not, are they close?
Let it never be said that the Silver Seven staff are too pessimistic. For the second year in a row, it looks like we are all going to (in some cases dramatically so) overshoot the Sens’ actual record. Ottawa is currently on a 66 point pace for a full 82 game season, a full ten points worse than even our most pessimistic projection (Ross). Only Nada had them making the play-offs so the rest of us will at least likely be right about missing the post-season yet again.
The Sens have obviously dealt with some bad injury luck, but there’s also been a lot of poor hockey too. It’s difficult to imagine this team, even fully healthy, being play-off contenders as of this writing. That said, there are a lot of encouraging signs, and who knows: maybe our overly optimistic pre-season predictions next year will be justified.