We’ve reached the NHL All-Star break, which is a little bit past the official halfway mark, but it’s a good time to take a second to sit back and reflect on how the season has gone so far. The Ottawa Senators have played 50 games with a 24-23-3 record, which is not exactly where we wanted them to be. At the beginning of the season, many fans, analysts, and writers gave their predictions in regard to team and player performance, and Silver Seven is no different. We will be looking back at our predictions from October, and today the topic is leading scorers and what they will do at the trade deadline.
The first question asked:
Last year, Brady Tkachuk led the Sens with 67 total points and Josh Norris was the team’s Richard Trophy winner with 35 goals. This year, the top six is loaded to the gills with talent thanks to the additions of Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat. Who leads the team in total points? Who pots the most goals? And as a bonus: who racks up the most power play points?
In reality, Brady Tkachuk is leading the team with 51 points in 50 games, and Tim Stützle has the most goals with 22 in 46 games. Drake Batherson is first on the team in powerplay points with 22 (and just 21 other even-strength points). The top of their lineup has delivered in terms of points, except for of course Josh Norris who has missed almost the entire season.
Nine of the writers gave responses, and not a single one of us predicted that Tkachuk would be leading the team in points. Five of us (me, Spencer, Beata, Ross, and Owen) had Stützle as the point leader, while nkb, Ary, and Shaan had Alex DeBrincat in first, and Nada had Claude Giroux as the leader. Stützle is just two points back of the lead, Giroux is three points back, and DeBrincat is 10 points back after a recent cold streak, so Stützle and Giroux could easily end up surpassing everyone by season's end. It’s a testament to how incredible Tkachuk has been that Stützle and Giroux aren’t even in first despite having their own phenomenal seasons.
Six of us (me, Spencer, Beata, Shaan, Ross, nkb) predicted DeBrincat to be first on the team in goals, although he’s five off Stutzle’s lead at 22. It’s definitely doable for him to come back simply due to the incredibly bad luck DeBrincat has had this season. Ary had Norris, Owen had Batherson, and Nada is the only person correct so far by guessing Stützle for the team lead in goals.
Lastly, we are on pace to go 0-fer in the powerplay point category as well, as Owen and I predicted Norris, nkb, Ross, and Ary had Stützle, Beata, Shaan, and Nada had DeBrincat, and Spencer had Giroux. Despite the four different guesses, nobody guessed Batherson, as the powerplay has been his bread and butter. However, DeBrincat is only one point back from the lead, while Stützle and Tkachuk are just two points back. So by the end of the season, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be correct.
In the other article about the trade deadline, we were asked:
In recent years, the assumption at the start of the season has always been that the Sens would be looking to off-load veterans at the trade deadline for picks or prospects since they would be long out of the play-off race. This year, the situation could be very different. This question is a two-parter: 1) Will the Sens be buyers or sellers at the deadline? and 2) What type of player will they be looking to add (or sell)?
There was some clear unity amongst the writers, as every single one of us gave some version of “buyer” as an answer. Spencer was the only person to predict a splashy move though, as he said that Jakob Chychrun would be here. Everyone else essentially gave the same answers referencing tinkering with the roster on the edges and adding some veteran depth pieces at defense and/or forward. Ross said someone such as Kyle Okposo or Paul Byron could be added, but no other specific names were shared.
Now, the trade deadline is still a month away so we don’t know if any of these things will come true yet. However, Ottawa is definitely in a worse position than we thought they’d be, meaning they might not be much of a buyer. In fact, there’s a chance that they even sell off some pending UFA veterans such as Tyler Motte, Travis Hamonic, Cam Talbot, Austin Watson, Derick Brassard, and Nick Holden. At the same time, if the Senators continue their positive momentum, Pierre Dorion might be convinced that a move or two could make them a playoff team.
Although they’re riding a 4-game winning streak, the playoffs are still a massive long shot, so I’m not sure they’ll add much to the roster unless it’s for an impactful defenseman who is signed beyond this season. Perhaps our predictions as “soft buyers” will be correct, we shall see!
Stay tuned for part 2 of Sterling Predictions Revisited.