The Ottawa Senators are 44 games into their season, which is just three games past the official halfway mark. Typically at this time of the year it is interesting to analyze where the team is and what the second half is going to look like. I thought it would be fun to set some over/under's for various things for the rest of the season, and we can go back in April and look at how we did.
So let's set some numbers.
Erik Karlsson points: 81.5
Karlsson is having another superstar season, on pace for his third Norris trophy (and perhaps even a Hart). He's currently on pace for 84 points, which is absurd for a defenseman. I set the line at 81.5 because I think it's a bit unfair to set it at his current pace. However, you can't really underestimate him, so the over/under should not be too low. Although he's having an absurd season, I'm sure he'll hit a bit of a dry spell at one point.
Remember, in 2011-12 he was on pace for a similar amount, but ended up with 78 points. I think he could crack 80 points exactly, but he'll end up just short of this mark. I'll take the under, but just barely.
Mark Borowiecki Scratches: 0.5
Borowiecki has yet to be scratched this season. I am shocked that I wrote that sentence, because you would think that at least one point in the season, Dave Cameron would have wanted a change to the third pairing. But no, he has been a mainstay on this team. I honestly doubt he'll be healthy scratched this year, but all it takes is one game for someone who took the over to win this bet.
Having said that, this is good local boy Mark Borowiecki who never quits. I'm taking the under.
Trades involving NHLers (before trade deadline): 1.5
This means that a trade involving Colin Greening as a salary dump with no NHLers involved does not count. If Ottawa trades for a rental with a draft pick going the other way, then that counts. Basically, by taking the over all the Senators have to do is make two real trades. Considering that Murray's only moves in the past year and a half has been the Jason Spezza and Robin Lehner trades, I'm not 100% confident they will be active.
Having said that, I think they realize they need some changes. I can actually see two or three trades before the deadline. I'm taking the over (optimistically).
5 on 5 CF%: 47.8%
That looks like an incredibly low number, until you realize that Ottawa's CF% currently sits 47.1%, which is 28th in the league. The reason I set this at 47.9% is because if they break that mark, they will be 21st in possession, just on the verge of the top 20 (and the Minnesota Wild at #20 are a big jump ahead). Being 21st certainly is not good, but it's at least respectable. If Ottawa acquires another player or two and plays to their ability, this isn't out of the question.
They did a similar thing last year, except the contrast wasn't so stark. While rising 0.7% in possession doesn't seem like a massive spike, I'm not too optimistic about this team's chances. I'll take the under.
Bobby Ryan points: 64.5
Ryan is having quite a good season for the Senators---at least in terms of point production. His possession has been an absolute drag, but let's forget that for a second. If his contract isn't going to be an albatross for the team, he's going to have to produce, and he's doing that. Ryan is on pace for 68 points right now, which would be fantastic. In his first two seasons here he has tailed off at the end of the season, and we don't know if he can keep his efforts up for an entire season.
If you think he can keep this pace, then it's an easy over choice. Although I have some doubts about his game, I think I'll go with the over on this one.
Mike Hoffman goals: 38.5
Hoffman is currently on pace for 39 goals, and he already has 20. It's pretty incredible that he's come to this point, when two seasons ago he was on waivers. He'll surely hit 30 goals now (barring any injuries), and 40 certainly isn't out of the question. I am certainly a huge believer in Hoffman's ability, and I think he's one of the best goal scorers in the game now. His 1.29 goals per 60 (7th in the league) also backs that up.
40 goals does seem a bit crazy, but I think Hoffman can do it. Even though technically 39 would suffice for this bet as well, I think he can get 40 right on the nose. Over 38.5.
Team Points: 91.5
This is the one that is very important. As of now, Ottawa is only on pace for 86 points. The Tampa Bay Lightning are on pace for 91.5, which would be the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. If they want to make the playoffs, they need to get over this mark, and potentially even more. The Senators had to get 99 points last year, and still only had a wildcard spot.
Obviously last year showed us that nothing is impossible, but it is going to be a real uphill climb now. Considering how bad the defense has been and their abysmal possession numbers, I can't see that translating to a better record than they already have. Maybe they start to play better, and I really hope they do. But at this point, I have to take the under.
I'd love to get a discussion here, so let me know what you think for each one!