Advanced stats bode well for Sens

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If you take luck out of the equation, then the 2013 Ottawa Senators were one of the best teams in the NHL … and the same can be predicted for next season’s club.

That’s the conclusion reached by Hockey Prospectus’ Rob Vollman, who ranks Ottawa first in both 2012-13’s “luck-neutral standings” and that system’s prediction for 2013-14 in his book “Hockey Abstract.”

Here’s the key excerpt:

The most likely Presidents’ Trophy winner according to this system is the Ottawa Senators. Despite finishing 12th overall last season, the Ottawa Senators could have finished first in 2012–13, too, had their luck come out a little differently, especially as it related to the health of Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza.

That system pegs the Senators’ chances of nabbing the Presidents’ Trophy at 32.2 percent, at least in an idealized world where luck isn’t such a massive factor.

Vollman considers offseason changes in his formula, but even so, it’s tough to ignore just how different this Senators team really is.

The team really is essentially adding Karlsson and Spezza back into the mix, removing Sergei Gonchar from the equation and trading Bobby Ryan for Daniel Alfredsson. Even Craig Anderson missed a significant chunk of last season, so Ottawa could present so many “variables” that they might almost seem like a different team.

Even so, at least one set of numbers argues that the Senators should be considered contenders rather than scrappy overachievers heading into next season.

(H/T to the Senators’ Web site.)