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Welcome to the second SensNews mailbag article, where I discuss my thoughts on some Sens fans’ hot takes for the upcoming season. If you want to participate in future mailbag articles, follow me on Twitter to get notifications when questions are posted. Let’s start with Tim Stutzle.
Tim Stützle Passes 100 Points
To start, we have a take from Twitter user Matty-Perth-Sens who believes that Tim Stützle will pass 100 points this season. To put this in perspective, Tim Stützle had 39 goals and 51 assists for 90 points this past season (78 games). This was a 32-point increase compared to his previous year.
I believe for Tim Stützle to hit 100 points next year, a few things need to happen. He must be healthy for nearly all 82 games of the NHL season. Injuries are unpredictable, and if Tim Stützle is out for an extended period, I would find it hard to believe that he could achieve this benchmark. If he is healthy, however, we have a different story on our hands.
The second piece to this equation is how much ice time Tim Stützle receives with Norris returning from injury. The Senators will now have to balance their two elite centremen, and while Tim Stützle should remain the number one centre, he may lose some minutes to Norris.
After their success last season, I can’t see the Tkachuk, Stützle, Giroux line being split up. I would imagine he would still be playing with those linemates and wouldn’t need to find chemistry.
While there is a strong chance that Stützle doesn’t reach this mark, I will be an optimistic fan and say he will exceed 100 points this season. It all depends on whether or not the aforementioned situations happen.
Shane Pinto, scores 30 goals
The second hot take comes from Twitter user Frank loves the Sens, who writes that he believes Shane Pinto can score 30 goals next season. Pinto scored 20 goals this past year as a rookie in 82 games. So he would need to have a big step in his development to add ten additional goals next season.
While I am very high on Shane Pinto, I don’t believe he will get to 30 goals next season. As the projected third-line center, I would be happy if Pinto scored between 20 and 25 goals, similar to what he did this season.
With Tim Stützle and Josh Norris back, the top six centers on the team are already set in stone. I don’t believe there will be enough opportunity for Pinto to reach 30 goals. I do believe however, that he will be among the very best at per/60 goals in the NHL. I am also expecting that he will be an elite power play presence for the Sens.
While I don’t see him reaching 30, I do believe Pinto will have a new career high in the goal and point categories. I am hoping for a 50-point season from Pinto (assuming he is healthy) with close to equal amounts of goals/assists.
Chabot gets back to form an score 60 points
I love this take from SSJ Gallifreyan. Thomas Chabot has taken so much criticism this past year, and while some is justified, I disagree with calling for him to be traded. This past season in a down year, Thomas Chabot had 11 goals and 30 assists for 41 points in 68 games.
It is no secret that Thomas Chabot has the talent to be one of the best offensive defencemen in the NHL. As many fans have noticed, he has seemed to be declining over the years with Ottawa. Many believe this is because of being overused by the coaching staff, in particular DJ Smith. Chabot has put so many miles on his body, and this past season it seemed to have caught up to him.
With new help on the backend from Jake Sanderson, Jakob Chychrun, and Artem Zub, Chabot will no longer have to play these grueling minutes. Hopefully, this will affect his overall play on the ice, and he will be more energized to create more offense. Not to mention the forwards on the Ottawa Senators know how to do one thing very well, and that is put the puck in the net. Chabot should be able to rack up the points by feeding players like Tim Stützle, and Brady Tkachuk, rekindling his offensive abilities.
I think Chabot will get 60 points or above this season, assuming he is healthy. I still believe he will run the team’s number one power-play unit, and that he will have new legs underneath him. Without having to play the ridiculous amount of minutes that he has had two in past years, Chabot should look brand new.
Josh Norris hits 40 goals
This take comes from Sensy Jones. Norris is a player that I am incredibly excited to watch play next season. I think some fans have forgotten how important he is to this team. I don’t think 40 goals is out of the question, but my biggest concern is that he feels 100% coming off of his shoulder injury. A timid play style could limit his overall output.
If Norris is healthy, I think he will hit 40 goals this season, especially if he plays in all 82 games. The only question I have with this is once again how the ice time will be balanced between him and Tim Stützle. But from what I’ve seen from Norris in the past, I can’t bet against his elite shot.