Staff Predictions Revisited

We take a look back at our preseason expectations for the Sens.

We've had a little while to digest the Ottawa Senators' season, and now it's time to take a look back at how we all did on the staff predictions. You also all voted in the reader polls, so we'll see how right you all were. You can find the complete set of predictions here.

Q1: Will Andrew Hammond get 30 or more starts this season? Bonus: how many games will each goalie start?

Hammond ended up playing in 24 games, with 21 starts. Craig Anderson played the bulk of the time, with 60 starts. Matt O'Connor picked up one infamous start, with the home opener being the only time all season neither of Hammond or Anderson got the start.

Everyone got this question right with the exceptions of Ross and Richard. Points for nearly everybody! Nobody guessed the correct number of starts for either Anderson or Hammond, so no one gets the bonus. Kudos to Adnan and B_T for being the only ones to guess Anderson would get 60+ starts. Also Callum was one off on both counts, but close doesn't count in prediction panels with arbitrary rules.

65% of readers correctly predicted Hammond would start 20-29 games, so I guess you all get the points too. Full goaltending predictions here.

Q2: Will Shane Prince or Matt Puempel play more NHL games this year? Bonus: how many games will each get?

This question is a little tough to quantify, since Prince only played 42 games for the Sens, but played 62 total NHL games this year. Not many of us envisioned a trade. Still, he easily beat Puempel's 26 GP (coincidence? probably), so the first half of the question isn't hard to figure out.

Everyone got points this time -- not a single staff member predicted Puempel to play more games. Trevor also gets a bonus point for correctly predicting 62 GP for Mr. Prince.

An overwhelming 85% of readers also got this question right, pitting Prince to find his way into more games. Full Prince/Puempel predictions here.

Q3: Will Mark Stone put up 70 points or more this year? Bonus: how many points will Stone score?

Stone "only" made it to 61 points this year, but flourished when given healthy, talented linemates. He untapped Zack Smith's unproven goal-scoring potential to perfection, making a strong push down the stretch to finish second on the team in points.

Adnan, Ian, Michaela, Peter, Ary, and Trevor get this one right. Peter guessed one too high, and Michaela one too low, so again no bonuses this round. *sad face*

The biggest choice by readers was 60-69 points with 47% of the vote, which ended up being right again. Clearly the readership knows what it's doing. Full Stone predictions here.

Q4: Who will lead the team this year in points? Bonus: how many will they score?

We all know the answer to this question already. Erik Karlsson blew the hockey world out of the water except for the Professional Hockey Writers' Association by putting up 82 points, the first 80+ point season by a defenceman since some guy named Brian Leetch.

Most of us got this one right too, with only Peter's Kyle Turris pick and Richard's Mark Stone choice failing to be correct. Both Adnan and Ary picked 82 points on the button to earn a solid bonus pick for their optimism.

72% of readers picked Karlsson to lead the team in scoring, making the readers 4/4 so far. Not bad at all. Full scoring leader predictions here.

Q5: Will Mike Hoffman or Bobby Ryan score more goals this year? Bonus: predict the number of goals each will score.

Hoffman paced the team with 29 goals, while Ryan still managed 22. Both put up the most points they have as a member of the Sens, with 59 and 56 respectively. Most of us didn't see Z. Smith finishing ahead of Ryan in goals, though playing 20 games on Scott Gomez's wing can do that to you.

Only Ary, Callum, and B_T got this right. For some reason, both Richard and Ross were dumb and picked a tie. Ary gets a bonus point for picking Ryan's goal total correctly. B_T picks up an impressive two bonus points for getting BOTH totals correct. Seriously. We published that article in September 2015.

61% of readers picked Ryan to win the goal-scoring title, marking the first mistake made by the masses. Full Hoffman/Ryan predictions here.

Q6: Who do you think will be the first Senator traded this year?

There were a few options for this question, with Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, and Tobias Lindberg all being shipped out as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade. Technically the Sens actually traded Patrick Mullen first, but that being an exclusively minor-league deal, we're not going to count it (though anyone who picked him gets the points).

Trevor picked Cowen, so he's the only one who gets points. Most of the staff picked "No Trade", though Adnan picked Chris Neil, Ary picked Zack Smith, and Richard played the role of eternal pessimist by predicting Patrick Wiercioch, Colin White, and Matt Puempel would all be traded together for something useless.

The most-picked player among the readership was Smith with 34% of the vote, though Cowen was close behind with 27%. The comments mostly turned into Smith apologism, which looking back was quite warranted. No one's arguing Smith shouldn't be in the NHL anymore. Still, no points for the readers. Full trade predictions here.

Q7: Will Ottawa finish under 30 for shots allowed per game this season, or are we destined to see more poor defensive hockey?

The Sens allowed 32.8 shots per game, the worst in the NHL for most of the season, though a late-season "push" by the Canucks brought them to a close 32.5.

Trevor, Peter, Ross, Callum, Michaela, and Adnan all got this right, correctly predicting poor defensive hockey. Most expected the Sens to at least outshoot their opponents, but their difference of -4.4 shots per game was again the worst in the NHL. No bonus points were available on this question, though that didn't stop Callum and Adnan from trying.

64% of readers got this question right. Full shots-allowed predictions here.

Q8: Which is more likely: Jared Cowen plays 60 games or Chris Wideman plays 30? Bonus: how many will each play?

The nigh-impossible happened, in that the Sens finally gave up on Cowen, with him only playing 37 games before being traded. Wideman found his way into 64 games in his rookie season, and even parlayed his play into an appearance for Team USA at the World Championships (ask Wiercioch what that can do for your career) and a three-year extension.

Trevor, Richard, Ross, and B_T got this right. Ian and Callum erroneously predicted both to happen. Only Trevor came close to getting the bonus, The only one of us correctly predicting Wideman to get into more games than Cowen.

48% of readers picked Wideman on this question, earning them another correct question. Full Cowen/Wideman predictions here.

Q9: Who will be the biggest good surprise of the year? The biggest bad surprise?

Full disclaimer: this question is more than a little subjective. A lot of poor choices were made for good surprise - Alex Chiasson, Cody Ceci, and Milan Michalek were all chosen. Ian gets a point for correctly saying Mika Zibanejad would hit 50 points. Trevor predicted Z-bad to outpace Turris' regular pace, which didn't happen, while Adnan picked him to become the team's #1 centre, a role which was arguably split between Turris and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. B_T picking Hammond to put up solid backup numbers was also correct, earning a point.

For biggest bad surprise, Ary correctly predicted a top-six forward's injury would derail the Sens' season -- Clarke MacArthur's concussion was catastrophic to the team's playoff chances, looking back. Ross picking Matt O'Connor to be a mediocre AHL goalie also came true, though he showed some signs of improvement later in the year. Other people picked Hoffman, Stone, Hammond, or Pageau for biggest disappointments, and it seems fair to say none of those came true.

40% of readers picked Zibanejad for the biggest good surprise, which should earn some points if Ian got points for picking him too. Full biggest surprise predictions here.

Q10: Where will Ottawa finish in the division and conference? Bonus: what will be the team's final record?

The Sens finished 38-35-9 for 85 points, good enough for fifth in the division and eight points out of the playoffs.

Callum was the only staff member to correctly predict the Sens to miss the playoffs, earning him the title of Most Negative Blogger. Amazingly, four staff members picked the Sens to be a 100+ point team. No one came even close to getting the bonus, with Callum's 92-point prediction being still too high.

Only 13% of readers picked the Sens to miss the playoffs, with far more predicting a wild card spot or 2nd/3rd in the division, possibly misled by an optimistic staff. Full record predictions here.

So there you have it. Counting each base question for two points, and each bonus for one point, the winner among the staff is... Trevor Shackles with 15 points! Trevor went 7/10 on the predictions to cruise to a win. It should be noted though that the readers also went 7/10, and without the opportunity for a bonus, share the crown. Not bad at all.

Here are the full standings:

Rank Name Points
1 Trevor Shackles 15
2 Readers 14
3 (tie) B_T / Ary M 13
5 Callum Fraser 12
6 Adnan 11
7 Michaela Schreiter 10
8 (tie) theianlex / Ross 9
10 Peter Raaymakers 8
11 Richard 4

Thank to everyone who participated, and here's hoping our most positive predictions come true next season!

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