As we hit the halfway mark of the season, we’re taking a look back at our Sterling Predictions from before this odd season began. In case you missed the first piece in this revisiting series, you can find it here.
There’s no need to hum and haw, let’s get right into it with our first prediction as it related to everyone’s favourite German son, Tim Stützle.
Tim Stützle is entering this season with the kind of hype we haven’t seen for a Sens prospect since Jason Spezza. What type of production can we expect from the young phenom?
Our team approached Stützle potential with a bit of caution. After all, we’re Sens fans. We don’t know what to do when good things happen to our franchise anymore.
As far as predictions go, there was a wide array of responses. A few of the more pessimistic writers - and, for once, I’m not included in this group! - had him putting up around 25-30 points in a 56 game season. This would be an 82 game pace of around 40-45 points. Others including me, had predicted he’d have a more successful season, reaching or exceeding the 40 point mark (55 point pace).
Overall, the staff averaged out to what we are likely going to end up seeing from Stützle on the season. He’s currently sitting with 18 points in 30 games, which is good for 33 points had he been able to play a full 56 game campaign. That being said, if you look at the game logs, Stützle only compiled 6 points in his first 13 games. If he continues on the pace he’s been on lately, seeing him put up 12 points in his last 17 games, we could see him creep closer to that 40 point mark on the season.
Group Verdict: Pretty close so far.
Thomas Chabot was the team’s workhorse on the blueline last year, but he never found a successful partnership with anyone besides Dylan DeMelo. Will Erik Gudbranson have any more luck, or are we looking at a partner by committee situation again this year?
This was a big question at the beginning of the season and I don’t think many people expected anything other than Gudbranson being Chabot’s partner. For the staff, most of us thought Gudbranson would be the partner to start the season but many of us questioned how long it would last. I think Ross actually said it best, saying nobody on the Sens is good enough to be Chabot’s partner and then admitting he thought we’d see Artem Zub play with Chabot because “he’s unlikely to be as much of a drag as anyone else.” Geez, Ross. You knew from day one that #ZubNation would be a real thing, eh?
A number of us leaned towards a partner by committee scenario where we’d see any number of Senators defenders partner up with Chabot. All-in-all, the overwhelming response was that Gudbranson wouldn’t play well enough throughout the season to be Chabot’s steady partner and that ended up being right.
I may have said Gudbranson would be “good enough that Smith will leave them together.” Oops.
Group Verdict: We (except me) nailed it.
Connor Brown was maybe the most pleasant surprise last year — who will most exceed our expectations for this year?
Here’s where things get dicey. We had a number of answers to this that ended up being very wrong. Trevor, for example, thought Josh Brown was going to be a serviceable defender who would have a solid first season in Ottawa. Owen, Beata and I? Well we tapped Alex Galchenyuk as our pleasant surprise of the season. Colin had Evgeni Dadonov, Shaan had Christian Wolanin, Brandon had Derek Stepan, Ross picked Rudolfs Balcers.
Honestly, this might be the worst one so far. The only people who really deserves any credit on this one are NKB and Nada. NKB predicted Drake Batherson would put up a solid year and would put up 40 points - which is definitely possible with how Batherson has been playing recently. Nada picked Colin White as her pleasant surprise and, despite the early healthy scratch fiasco, White has been a consistent producer and reliable two-way pivot more nights than not.
Group Verdict: Yikes.
Overall, it was a mixed bag for our predictions on these topics. We were a bit cautious with our predictions for Stützle, we (mostly) nailed the fact that Gudbranson wasn’t going to be a top pairing partner for Chabot and we absolutely bombed our pleasant surprise predictions. I’d give us a B.
How do you think we did? Did you have any predictions on these topics that ending up being true - or terribly wrong?