Sterling Predictions Re-visited, Part 2: Stellar Rookies and Play-offs?!

One of my favourite features each year is Sterling Predictions. Projecting forward, on the record, and then being forced to re-visit how well those educated guesses have aged is both humbling and fantastic content. It’s also a useful exercise for capturing sentiment at any given moment, since as fans we tend to retcon these things a lot. What’s obvious now was not always obvious six months ago, no matter the current consensus.

In part one of this feature, Trevor re-visited how we did predicting the team’s leading scorers and whether the Ottawa Senators would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. I would describe the results as “mixed”. Today, we’ve got the last two predictions for you:

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?

On the whole, I’d say that we are looking like we mostly got this one right: Sanderson’s had the better season of the two, but neither seems very likely to finish in the top three for Calder voting. So while everyone on the staff was excited about each player’s potential only Spencer thought both Pinto and Sanderson would finish in the top three, while Shaan, Ross, and Nada believed one of the two might have a chance. Trevor, Beata, Ary, Owen, and nkb all said both would have good seasons but ultimately not quite good enough.

Our last look into our crystal balls is the same every year:

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?

As the Sens enter the All-Star break, they boast a record of 24-23-3 and are on pace for 84 points. They’re currently six points out of the last wildcard spot, and, barring a minor miracle, do not seem like they will be qualifying for the post-season. By any measure, we all got this one wrong. No one predicted the Sens would end up with fewer than 91 points, and  five of the nine respondents said they would qualify for the play-offs. Your definition of “meaningful games” may vary, but Ottawa will need to pick up the pace to even meet that criteria for the last few weeks of the year.

That said, writing this article today as opposed to ten days ago has me feeling like a miracle run is not totally out of the realm of possibility. Maybe we’re not dead in the water on this one quite yet.

I do have to shout-out commenter Bext, though, for this alarmingly prescient comment:

Logically I expect the team to have ups and downs over the course of the season, and those downs may well cost them a playoff berth. If we are all here in April saying ‘if not for that tepid start and January slump ...” it wouldn’t be a surprise

I guess some things are more predictable than others!

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