I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by the Sens this year.The Sens have confidence in their team and none think that last year was the result of the team over-acheiving in coming 5th in the East.
The team weakness is said to be in net and the fear is that the 18th place goals against per game may drop as the team has lost shot blocking in having Volchenkov and Sutton gone. They were the 4th best in league in shots against.
Volchekov blocked about 2.6 shots per game - a 'normal' D is usually 1 to 1.5 per game. So assume 2 more shots per game on shot blocking alone. At the save percentage we had from our tandem last year, that would mean 0.2 more GA/G. That would move the Sens from 18th down to 24th and surely out of the playoffs. They definitely need better play from LeClaire and Elliot.
Will Gonchar be a big reason why the Sens move up from being the 18th place team in shots for per game? Will the Sens score more this year?
My prediction is yes to those questions and yes, the Elliot/Leclaire tandem will improve on their 26th/46th ranking in save percentage.
Note - Alfie and Kovalev need 8 and 10 pts respectively to hit the 1000 career point mark - look for those markers to get hit tomorrow night in Toronto.