It’s less than two months until the NHL regular season starts, and people are already beginning to make predictions for the Ottawa Senators.
I read a really great article on thehockeywriters.com about who they’re projecting to lead the Senators in different statistical categories.
I agree with them when they say that Mike Hoffman is going to lead the team in goals. I think Bobby Ryan is poised to cross that 30 goal plateau for the first time with the Senators, but Hoffman has scored 27 and 29 goals in his last two seasons.
Fresh off of signing his new contract, it’d be really surprising if he doesn’t end up getting somewhere between 32-35 goals this season. He’s a fairly safe bet to lead the team.
They predicted that Erik Karlsson will lead the team in assists. Unlike with goals, I don’t think this category will even be close between Karlsson and whoever finishes second.
It actually might be more interesting to predict who will finish second to Karlsson, who lead the entire NHL with 66 assists last season.
Even if he regresses closer to his 45 assist total of 2014-2015, it doesn’t seem like anybody can match Karlsson.
My bet would be Kyle Turris, especially if he ends up getting the majority of ice time on that first line.
Turris had 40 assists when he played all 82 games during the 2014-2015 season. The big difference is that it’s Turris’ career high, while Karlsson hasn’t had less than 40 assists in a non-lockout shortened season since 2010-2011.
New center Derick Brassard registered 41 assists in 2014-2015 with the Rangers, but dropped to 31 last season.
He’s a great passer, but it’s probably going to come down to who gets the majority of time as the first line center, which isn’t entirely clear yet, although I’m guessing it’s going to be Turris.
hockeywriters.com thinks Brassard will lead the team in plus/minus, and I can see why. He’s a great leader and had a +12 in 2015-2016 and a +9 in 2014-2015, but that was with a completely different Rangers team.
I’m going to go with Mark Stone to lead the team in plus/minus, though. He lead the NHL in takeaways by a huge margin, and he’s also a talented goal scorer.
I’m expecting his plus/minus to dramatically improve from that -4 last season and get closer to his +21 from 2014-2015, when he was 2nd on the team.
hockeywriters.com thinks that Chris Neil is going to lead the team in penalty minutes, which is like picking Usain Bolt to win the 100m dash.
The only two conceivable options to unseat him are Mark Borowiecki and Zack Smith. Borowiecki lead the team in penalty minutes in 2014-2015, but that coincided with Neil only playing in 38 games.
Smith has registered over 100 penalty minutes in a season twice in his career, but not since 2013-2014.
Also, considering that Borowiecki isn’t even guaranteed a firm spot on that third defensive pairing, it’d be going out on a limb to pick him.
Neil might be getting up there in age, but considering that his main role while on the ice has become throwing his weight around and fighting, he’ll keep getting his fair share of penalty minutes.
Great article from thehockeywriters.com as usual. I agree with most of their picks, but I still lean towards Stone leading in plus/minus instead of Brassard.