I have compiled a series of predictions for the Senators upcoming year. I'm talking about the events, personalities, and a couple of stats that will shape the team's season.
1. Jarko Rutuu will become the Senators' heroic anti-hero.
It's no secret that the Sens have been looking to acquire a gritty pest, ala Gary Roberts, for several years now. I think that blogs and other media will come to adore Rutuu for bringing some, not just toughness, but jackassery to the team. You heard me - Jackassery: the quality of being an on-ice jackass. Doing stupid shit (hopefully not Darcy Tucker "attack the opposing team's bench" stupid) for no reason and pissing everyone off.
2. Alex Auld is #1 goaltender for at least one 20-game stretch
Martin Gerber is known for his shaky confidence, and has relied on his "backup" for stretches in all previous years with the Sens - this year will be no different.
3. Jason Spezza has first 100-point season
Some people may not believe it, but Spezza is the fulcrum of the Senators' offence, despite his defensive failings. With 92 points in 76 games last year, there is no doubt he has the talent. With his icetime better managed, injuries can be prevented and 100 points can be achieved.
4. Daniel Alfredsson realizes he's old
Though he is a golden God, Alfie is now 35 years old. We may not realize it, but it is freaking incredible that he's been so productive.
Of the NHL's top 25 point scorers last year, only 5 are 30 or older... and Alfredsson was 9th in the league. Of the over-30 group, only Jerome Iginla (31) and Pavel Datsyuk (30) had more points. In the 35-or-older group, the only Alfredsson and Mats Sundin (37) (who ranked #22) are on the top 25.
So maybe we should begin to change our expectations of the Sens captain. More leadership, less point-scoring. He's not a kid anymore.
5. Heatley doesn't get 50
It's the same thing as last year. No secondary scoring threats, the opposing team can crack down on Spezza and Heatley. You know what that means - 42 goals or so for Heater.