2021-22 Season Prediction: 72GP, 25G-33A-58P
As the Senators and Tkachuk remain at a stalemate with their contract talks, a new season is fastly approaching and it’s certain that he will miss regular-season games, it’s just a matter of how many. There’s no doubt that Tkachuk is itching to get back on the ice with his teammates, look for once the regular season starts for talks to heat up until an agreement is finally reached. If a contract is signed within the next week, Tkachuk will only miss a handful of games.
Tkachuk was a 20-goal scorer in his first two seasons in Ottawa and had 17 tally’s in 56 games last season – a 25 goal pace, the future captain of the Senators numbers will likely continue to progress as the team around him improves. Now, we all know Tkachuk brings a lot more to the game than just his offence, his physicality is one of the reasons he’s so highly regarded throughout the league. Over the last two seasons, Tkachuk has been on pace to become the first player in NHL history to record 300+ shots and hits in a single season, unfortunately, due to Covid both seasons were cut short of 82 games. If Tkachuk is signed in time, his quest for the 300/300 club would be a great storyline to follow.
2021-22 Season Prediction: 80GP, 23G-35A-58P
One of the most exciting players to watch since I started following Senators hockey, Stützle’s blend of speed, skill and work ethic make him a hockey fans dream, especially when he’s on your favourite team. Stützle dazzled throughout training camp but had some struggles in the preseason, however, not too much stock should be put into exhibition games.
As of now, Stützle is predicted to start the season on the top line with Josh Norris and Drake Batherson but that’s expected to change when Tkachuk does return to the lineup. If Stützle can find the same chemistry he had last season with Shane Pinto and Connor Brown on the second line, they can complement the top-six better than any other remaining combination. The 2020 3rd overall pick will also see a lot of powerplay time on the top unit, which should allow Stützle to challenge for a 60+ point season.
2021-22 Season Prediction: 82GP, 14G-24A-38P
In my opinion one of the most improved players on last years team, Paul’s tremendous instincts and takeaway ability make him a standout on the defensive end of the ice. Paul’s offensive game hasn’t quite been able to catch up with his defensive abilities, he had just 5 goals and 20 points last season, but, there’s a reasonable expectation for an uptick in production, especially when he’s starting the season on the second line in Tkachuk’s absence.
Paul has formed a dynamic penalty-killing duo with Connor Brown, who led the NHL in shorthanded goals with 5. Paul was able to register 1 goal and 4 points shorthanded, while consistently causing havoc at both sides of the ice.
2021-22 Season Prediction: 80GP, 14G-14A-28P
Out of all the Senators players in the preseason, nobody improved their stock more than Formenton, using his tremendous speed to create offence, the speedy forward had 4 goals and 6 points in 5 preseason contests. He flashed some potential alongside Norris and Batherson:
There’s a chance the 2017 2nd round pick starts on the top line, but once Tkachuk returns Formenton is automatically relegated to a bottom-six role. Expect Formenton to play a bottom-six role with a heavy focus on penalty killing, of the goals he scores this season there’s almost a guarantee that at least one will be shorthanded.
2021-22 Season Prediction: 46GP, 10G-6A-16P
Sanford is a curious case, acquired for the polarizing Logan Brown, the former St. Louis Blues forward is now in a battle to get into the opening night lineup. It appears there’s a chance Sanford is a healthy scratch for opening night, if that’s the case it doesn’t bode well for the future. The 6’4″ power forward doesn’t play with a ton of pace or urgency, something that plagued Logan Brown in his time here. It remains to be seen if Sanford can turn it around and return to his form from 2019-20 where he recorded 30 points in 58 games and produced solid defensive numbers.
2021-22 Season Prediction: 36GP, 5G-3A-8P
Starting the season in the lineup fresh off a two-year contract extension that takes Kelly through the 2023-24 season, it seems like the tenacious forward has an inside track to becoming a regular in the lineup. However, don’t expect Kelly to play in every game, it’s still likely he spends some time refining his skills in Belleville, but it’s easily plausible that he will spend a significant amount of time with the big club. Kelly gave us a preview of what’s to come in his first NHL game last season, and of course, he scored a goal too. Here’s a compilation of Kelly agitating the Leafs’ Jake Muzzin:
Not known for his offensive flair, Kelly won’t produce crazy numbers but he is everything you look for in a 4th line player, he brings speed, a motor that never stops and he also has an innate ability to throw the opposing team off their game.