Ottawa Senators Sterling Predictions: Stellar Rookies

Let’s talk explosive upside!

In the first two installments of this year’s Sterling Predictions, we tackled who we thought might be the Ottawa Senators’ leading scorers, as well as what we believe the team might do at the trade deadline. Today, we  divine the future of two of the most exciting young players to don the Senturion in quite some time.

The Senators have great expectations for this year, and a big part of whether they reach their goals will be determined by the play of their two super rookies: Shane Pinto and Jake Sanderson. Who will have the “better” season of the two? Will either finish top three in Calder voting?

Trevor: I loved what I saw from Sanderson and Pinto in the preseason. I believe both will have a big impact this season, but Sanderson will be better just because his task will be more important than playing on the 3rd line. Neither will finish in the top-3 for Calder voting, but Sanderson will be a mainstay on the second pairing and Pinto will surpass 40 points.

Spencer: This one comes down to opportunity. Sanderson has the opportunity to be one of Ottawa’s best defender - maybe the best - in short order,  whereas Shane Pinto has both Tim Stützle and Josh Norris taking up a lot of minutes down the middle. Sanderson will have the better rookie season and, call me overly optimistic but provided both stay healthy, both are in the top 3 for the Calder voting.

Beata: Both will have good seasons, but Sanderson will have a bigger impact. Sanderson’s case for the Calder will be a subject of huge debate around the NHL, but he will ultimately finish outside of the top 3

Shaan: Pinto and Sanderson will be as good as they need to be. A quality third-line center rivaling the likes of Jean-Gabriel Pageau in his prime, and a complete second-pairing defenseman. Both have fantastic talents playing ahead of them, such as Norris and Chabot, so I don’t think either will have the counting stats to win the trophy. I can see Sanderson getting a nomination, though.

Ross: Pinto will get some prime PP minutes on the 1B unit, and will finish top-3 in Calder voting. Sanderson will be a solid top-4 guy and finish 6th in Calder voting — with one 5th-place Norris vote!

Nada: Defensemen usually garner less attention and take more time to fully develop; I suspect Sanderson will be fine but I’m not sure if he’ll be Calder caliber. I can definitely see Pinto getting attention and getting a nomination — especially if he spends a lot of time on the power play.

Ary: I predict Sanderson will have the greatest on-ice impact and is more likely to garner Calder votes because of his pedigree, even though I see both him and Pinto being on the outside looking in (fourth to eighth place in voting) when the season is done

Owen: I foresee the coaching staff wisely sheltering Sanderson, though not dramatically so, so I don’t expect him to play in any role this season that will lend itself to Calder votes.  I can see Pinto having a sneaky good season and finishing top-four in RotY polls.

nkb: Whether it’s justified or not, individual scoring drives a lot of the conversation around end-of-year awards. If you want to be in the discussion for the Calder, you need at the very least to be near the top of the rookie scoring leaderboard. Sadly for Sanderson and Pinto, I don’t foresee either cracking the top five in scoring, so it’s doubtful they’ll be in the top three in voting. That said, I’d wager both have hugely impactful seasons and Sanderson’s play in particular will finally give Sens fans something they’ve been dreaming of for over 15 years: two strong defense pairings.

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