With the trade deadline approaching, speculation is rampant. The Ottawa Senators are among the teams with a tremendous amount of roster give, which has opened up a fair bit of grist for the ol’ rumour mill.
Consider that the Sens have 10 pending unrestricted free agents. The balance, with the exception of four players, is wired into entry-level contracts for the most part. Only Thomas Chabot, Colin White, Nikita Zaitsev, and Bobby Ryan are signed past next season, with Ryan in the NHL/NHLPA Players’ Assistance program for the foreseeable future.
General manager Pierre Dorion has been mum about any deadline plans, as is generally the case, but the Senators have some opportunities to carve out an identity for themselves. They haven’t tabled contract negotiations with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mark Borowiecki, for instance, and goalie Craig Anderson is among the mountain of pending UFAs.
Those players could be bargaining chips, especially since Ottawa’s sitting on a small fortune of picks and prospects over the next while.
“We do have a lot of picks already, we’ve got a lot of prospects coming (and) Belleville is in first place with one of the youngest teams in the minors, so getting picks and prospects just to make a trade this year isn’t something we’re probably going to look at,” Dorion said Thursday. “We’re going to make sure we’re going to move the right if we’re going to move players.”
Selling Anderson could be tricky given his less-than-great player as of late. He does carry a hefty $4.75 million cap hit, but his expressed desire to play again next season sounds less tantalizing when stacked against some of his more recent losses. On Saturday, the 38-year-old coughed up four goals on 22 shots against the Winnipeg Jets.
That’s put him in line for a .899 save percentage to go with a 3.27 goals-against average, which isn’t exactly enticing. That could mean he’ll have to stay put, along with more than a few other players.
But it does seem likely Ottawa will work out trades for the likes of Pageau and defenceman Dylan DeMelo, who’re generating plenty of open market interest among teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes, and New York Islanders.
Whether they’ll move on that interest remains to be seen, but Dorion’s stated desire to not make trades for the sake of making trades suggests a wait and see approach. With so many expiring contracts and potential UFAs, that could put this team in a very intriguing position ahead of the deadline.
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