One of these years the Ottawa Senators will approach a commercial deadline with the aim of adding a key player for a potential playoff run.
Again, this isn’t that time. Not yet. Sitting in the bottom five teams in the league before Monday’s deadline, the Senators have their familiar role as salesmen.
With losses and injuries piling up (Thomas Chabot being the latest long-term injury), the Senators and their fan base could use a diversion. A few clever deals or a judicious signing could help raise the mood in the community as fans look forward to the trade deadline and beyond that to another lottery pick in July.
Space Expiration Limit: $ 54.9 million
Salary committed in 2022-23: 50 million dollars
2022: Ten – 1st, 2nd, 2nd (TB), 3rd, 3rd (BOS), 3rd (VAN), 5th, 6th, 7th, 7th (NYI)
2023: Otto – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 7th (NAS)
To his media availability before the deadline, GM Senator Pierre Dorion said it’s “no secret” that his team is looking to get a forward into the top six and a defender into the top four. He quickly added that these additions “don’t grow on trees” and are more likely to be dealt with with a draft time contract or free will signature, as opposed to the trade deadline.
Fair enough. But with Ottawa, it’s worth adding that his revenues don’t even grow on trees. So the question must be asked: will the senators have the resources to spend on a legitimate attacker and defender? A more likely solution would be for Dorion to package choices and a perspective for a player who can enter an important role immediately, but who also falls within the budget of the senators. This is where things get complicated.
Also, a week after Dorion’s speech, it was revealed that goalkeeper Matt Murray may not return to the pitch this season, having been largely unavailable for most of his first two years on his four-year contract. Goalkeeper has become a major problem to address before next season.
G Alexandar Georgiev, New York Rangers
Senators may have goalkeeper prospects (see file under Sogaard, Merilainen etc), but they are skinny when it comes to experienced NHL goalkeepers. Goaltending problems have crushed the Senators for the past two seasons and jobs will be lost if this continues.
Matt Murray, the $ 6.25 million man, cannot be counted on to stay healthy and behind him, only Anton Forsberg has legitimate NHL experience and could opt for free will in the summer. Will Murray be bought?
Georgiev, 26, is a pending RFA with an AAV of $ 2.4 million and is looking for a more stable job now that Igor Shesterkin has taken the net in New York. Georgiev has more experience than Forsberg and is three years younger, with a career score of 51-47-11, 2.98 goals versus the average and 0.908 percentage save.
Dorion went to great lengths to express her willingness to move draft picks if necessary. He already has ten picks for 2022, but could look to add a solid draft class for 2023, for which he currently has only eight picks. With a lot of prospects in the system, Sens will not add the abandoned prospects that teams are trying to download, but will target players identified as being able to help Ottawa now.
ACTIVITIES TO BE TRADED
They have seven UFAs pending, plus an AHL Belleville defender under contract (Michael Del Zotto) as a potential commercial chip. Chris Tierney, Zach Sanford, Nick Paul, Josh Brown, Tyler Ennis and Anton Forsberg are the UFAs waiting on the Ottawa roster. Dillon Heatherington is another available AHL veteran player. He has played nine games with the Senators this season.
F Nick Paul, 27, C / LW
Consistent producer of 20 points, Paul has scored 11 career goals this season. Goals aren’t quite the bread and butter of this versatile, two-way center / winger who is big and hard working. An excellent penalty killer, Paul is the quintessential “boy on the team”. Senators have said they would like to keep Paul, but unless there is a breakthrough in the negotiations by the weekend, Paul is probably gone. As a potential target of the trade board’s top ten, Paul could generate a decent return (a perspective and a choice?), Depending on the market temperature by Monday.
It looks like a seller’s market.
F Zack Sanford, 27, LW
Sanford has the Stanley Cup championship experience with the St. Louis Blues and could bring a physical advantage in the last six of a competing team.
F Tyler Ennis, 32, RW
Senators have already traded Tyler Ennis once upon expiration, in 2020, with Edmonton for a fifth round pick. He might be on the move again.
The teams know they can count on Ennis for experience and haste. He has scored 21 points for the Sens this season and scored his seventh of the campaign Wednesday against Columbus.
Dr. Josh Brown, 28
Teams never feel they have enough depth of the blue line, so a playoff team may feel the need to acquire Brown, a right-throw defender who carries dimensions.
Another one who would definitely be on the market is defender Nikita Zaitsev (fans wouldn’t cry his departure), but his $ 4.5 million price tag for two more seasons is a stumbling block.
All in all, it could be a busy weekend and a Monday for the senators.