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Recently, ESPN released their Senators point projections for fantasy hockey, in 2023/2024. While some projections were reasonable, a few were puzzling and seemed unlikely. So, in this article, I will discuss my Senator’s player projections, starting with the top line. For my projections, I will use comparable player arcs, accounting for age, trends from the last three seasons, predicting games played, etc. Of course, it’s difficult to predict exact point totals given the uncertainty about health, but these will be my best guesses.
Brady Tkachuk Points Projection
2022/2023 – 82 GP – 35 Goals – 48 Assists – 83 Points
2023/2024 Projection – 76 GP – 34 Goals – 50 Assists – 84 Points
I am expecting to see Brady Tkachuk take another step forward this season. The clear player comparison to use for Brady is Matthew Tkachuk. Both have very similar styles of play, and both have had quite comparable growth year to year. In Matthews’s 23-year-old season, he had 43 points in 56 games during the shortened Covid year. In this sense, Brady had a more productive season than Matthew going year by year. But the following season, Matthew broke out getting 104 points in 82 games.
I don’t see Brady becoming a 100-point player quite yet, especially with how deep the Senators are. You also have to factor in that Matthew was playing on one of the best lines in hockey with Gaudreau and Lindholm. While the Sens top-line guys could have a season like this, I wouldn’t be expecting it. Still, I believe Tkachuk will take a step forward again this season. I also expect Stutzle will re-adopt being more of a playmaker this season, which is why I have Tkachuk’s goal total rising.
Considering the intensity that Tkachuk plays with, and how demanding it is on the body, I think he will miss a handful of games this year for recovery. Throughout his career Tkachuk has been very durable, missing just 25 games over 5 seasons. I have Tkachuk getting 84 points in 76 games, a 1-point increase in 6 fewer games. Considering the growth of his linemates, his consistent development, and the fact his advanced stats don’t point toward puck luck, I believe next season will be another slight step forward for the captain.
Tim Stutzle Points Projection
2022/2023 – 78GP – 39 Goals – 51 Assists – 90 Points
2023/2024 Projection – 79 GP – 33 Goals – 65 Assists – 98 Points
Tim Stutzle is the player that I will be most excited to watch this season. He is far and away the most talented player on the Sens roster, and he should be a points machine this season. As I discussed earlier with Tkachuk, I expect Stutzle to become more of a playmaker this season. If Tarasenko is the winger played with him and Tkachuk, Stutzle should be the primary set-up man. I think a goal total in the low 30s is likely for Stutzle, which is a slight regression, but I expect his assists numbers to jump.
Once again, the obvious comparison for Tim Stutzle is Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils. Like the Tkachuk brothers, Hughes and Stutzle have had a very similar development path so far. Last season was the major breakout year for Jack Hughes, and I think Stutzle is due for a similar season. Going off of their 21-year-old seasons, Stutzle was slightly more productive than Hughes scoring 90 points in 78 games (ppg 1.15), compared to 56 points in 49 games (ppg 1.14).
On top of being relied upon as more of a playmaker, I also suspect Stützle’s shooting percentage to slightly decline. Last season, Stutzle had a shooting percentage of 17.1%, which ranked 18th in the NHL. His career average currently sits at 14.2%, so I suspect his S% this season will be around 15%-15.5%.
If he can stay healthy, which given his history he should be able to do, I think this is a conservative projection for Stutzle. If the Senators team takes another step forward this season, and Stutzle continues to grow as a player, I could easily see him reach the 100+ point plateau. But, given the team’s additions and hopefully more balanced approach, I expect him to fall just short of 100 points.
Vladimir Tarasenko Points Projection
2022/2023 – 69GP – 18 Goals – 32 Assists – 50 Points
2023/2024 Projection – 66GP – 30 Goals – 28 Assists – 58 Points
Vladimir Tarasenko is the biggest wildcard to project on the top line of the Sens. This is based on most mock lineups, which have Tarasenko playing on the top line with Tkachuk and Stutzle. The question is, which version of Vladimir Tarasenko are the Senators going to get? Last season, he had 18 goals and 32 assists which was quite disappointing by his standards. But the year prior, Tarasenko had 34 goals and 48 assists for 82 points in 75 games.
For my projection, I found a middle ground between the two seasons. His health has been hit or miss recently, but he is still a dangerous player when available. I don’t expect him to be good to go for all 82 games, but I am not worried about him missing a major chunk of the season like he did in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.
As for his point totals, I expect him to increase his numbers from last season. I think the best years for Tarasenko are behind him, but he can still score 30 in the NHL. I expect Tarasenko’s TOI (16:48) and shooting percentage (10.7) to increase this season, and with more opportunity, hopefully his game will take a step. If he can shoot closer to his career average while playing top-line minutes, a point-per-game season isn’t out of the question.
I think he will be close, but will ultimately fall short of reaching this plateau. His production will also rely on his role with the first or second power-play unit. If he doesn’t crack the top PP, his production should take a hit. That being said, anyone playing with Tim Stutzle and Brady Tkachuk is bound to put up numbers. If that is where DJ Smith plays Tarasenko, he will be setting him up nicely for a contract next summer.
Senators Point Projections For The Top Line
2022/2023 – 229GP – 92 Goals – 131 Assists – 223 Points
2023/2024 Projection – 221GP – 97 Goals – 143 Assists – 240 Points
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