Sterling Predictions Revisited: Scoring, Special Teams, and Playoffs

Looking back at how well the staff did at predicting scoring, special teams, and if the Senators would make the playoffs. It's not easy!

Sterling Predictions Revisited: Scoring, Special Teams, and Playoffs
Photo by Aron Visuals / Unsplash

Making predictions is hard, okay?! Yet we still love to do it every year, probably just to make fools of ourselves. Today we look back at three predictions made in October related to scoring, special teams, and whether the Ottawa Senators would make the playoffs. Take a look to see who did the best:

Who will lead the Ottawa Senators in total points this year? Will anyone crack 100? And, for a bonus point, who will be the leading scorer among defensemen?

In reality, nobody came close to 100 points, with Brady Tkachuk leading the team in points with 74. Tim Stützle was just four back with six fewer games played. The leading scorer amongst defensemen was Jakob Chychrun, who had 41 points in 82 games, just three ahead of Jake Sanderson.

Out of the nine guesses, every single writer said that Stützle would be the leader in points, so we whiffed on that one. Then again, if Tim played in more than 75 games, I feel pretty confident that he would have passed Tkachuk. Still though, it's too bad that we had hopes of him taking his game to another level, but instead his production stagnated and wasn't as effective of a goal scorer. Then again, that could have been heavily due to his wrist injury.

Spencer, Beata, Nada, Trevor, Owen, and nkb all had Stützle getting at least 100 points as well, with Beata, Nada, and nkb also predicting Tkachuk to get at least 100. Those ended up being quite optimistic, although I don't think they were ridiculous to say at the time.

As for the defensemen prediction, six people (Ross, Beata, Trevor, Owen, Ary, Shaan) had Thomas Chabot being the leading point-getter, while three others (Spencer, Nada, nkb) correctly had Chychrun. Amongst the three correct guesses, Spencer had Chychrun getting 57 points, Nada had him at 60, and nkb had him at 58. So once again, we were hoping for more offense from the team, and it just wasn't there. Owen was the most optimistic with a 60-point prediction for Chabot, while Ross was the closest with 43 points, although he had Chabot instead of Chychrun.

Considering Spencer was correct on the defense point leader and did not guess Stützle to get over 100 points, he was the most correct in this section, but that's kind of like saying you're the least bad at something, right?

While the Sens greatly improved their 5v5 play last year, they were still heavily reliant on special teams for goal-scoring. Will they continue to see special teams success next season? Will the PP and PK both finish in the top 10?

Yikes. Special teams can be very random, but it's hard to have a powerplay and penalty kill both be this bad. Ottawa finished with a powerplay conversion of 18%, which was 23rd overall, and a penalty kill conversion of 75.1%, which was 29th. You're not going to win at those levels, simple as that.

Ross, Nada, Ary, and nkb had the Senators finishing with a top-10 powerplay, with Ross and nkb even saying top-5. Nobody thought the powerplay would drop too far though, as Trevor was the lowest on them but had them in the 14-18 range, essentially average. Trevor, Beata, Nada, and Spencer predicted a top-10 finish for the penalty kill, while Ary was the lowest on them, saying they'd finish between 12th-18th.

Overall, the staff was quite high on their special teams, as even the "pessimistic" predictions had them as average on either the powerplay or penalty kill. It's hard to say who was "most" correct for this section because nobody was really close at all.

The Sens have gotten off to a horrible start in every season under DJ Smith. Is this the year that they finally make it out of the first few months in the playoff hunt? Does DJ keep his job past Christmas? What will their record be at the end of the year? And, most importantly, do the Sens finally make it to the postseason?

Well...we all know how this one went. It's uncanny how the Senators yet again began the season poorly and DJ Smith was only able to hold onto a job until December 18th. They finished the season with a 37-41-4 record and 78 points in a season where they were pathetically out of the playoff race by December. Make that seven straight seasons without a playoff berth.

As for our predictions, every single writer had them making the playoffs. Which again, wasn't crazy to say at the time at all. They were expected to be a wildcard team or at least be very close. Yet..we were all wrong on this one, which is incredibly depressing. Ary, Nada, and Owen all had the Senators finishing 3rd in the division, while everyone else had them as a wildcard team. The total point predictions were very close, as the lowest was nkb with 97 (closest to being correct yet still 19 points off...) and the highest was Nada with 102. So congratulations to nkb on that one?

Nada was the only one to predict that DJ Smith would lose his job, which is pretty surprising to look back at. Trevor and Ary somewhat mentioned Smith potentially being gone in the off-season, but everyone besides Nada had him finishing the year in Ottawa due to them making the playoffs. We were far off on this one and ended up being too optimistic about the season as a whole. I can't even decide who had the best predictions because nobody stands out at all.

How do you think you did based on your predictions in October? It's kind of sad if you did really well and expected this kind of season to happen, to be honest. Here's to a much better 2024-25.

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