The Ottawa Senators trade deadline is not expected to be busy. General manager Pierre Dorion said, “In all my years as GM, this (deadline) has been the quietest”. Unlike previous deadlines, the Senators don’t have a big name to trade away like when they had players such as Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Jean-Gabriel Pageau available over the past four seasons. The Senators are not making the playoffs this year, so they will sell any free agents they don’t expect to re-sign. Dorion said the team needs a top-six forward and top-four defensemen. If they can find one of both of those players, that will most likely occur in the summer. However, here are some Ottawa Senator Trades we could see at the deadline.
Ottawa Senators Trades at the Deadline
Nick Paul is the best pending unrestricted free-agent the Senators have. The 26-year-old is an incredibly versatile player. He can play wing or centre. Paul is fantastic defensively, he’s a reliable penalty-killer and is 12th in the league in takeaways over the past two seasons. He also can contribute offensively with 18 points in 57 games this year. While he’s not aggressive, Paul’s size at six-foot-two and 224 pounds is useful when battling for pucks, standing in front of the net and protecting the puck. For all of those reasons, Ottawa should re-sign Paul. If they can’t, they have to trade him because he will fetch the greatest return.
There will be a bidding war for Nick Paul if he is available. All contenders can use big and versatile two-way forwards for a stretch run. Paul’s $1.35 million salary-cap hit also makes him affordable. The Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights make the most sense. If the Ottawa Senators trade Nick Paul, they will receive a second or third-round pick for him.
It’s highly unlikely Zach Sanford remains a Senator past this season. The Senators will have Colin White, Ridley Greig, Nick Paul (if re-signed) and Egor Sokolov battling for third-line winger roles next season, making little room for him. Sanford has many qualities that make him attractive to contenders. He’s won a Stanley Cup, he has excellent size at six-foot-four and 206 pounds, he can move up and down a lineup, and he’s reliable to play solid every night. He doesn’t wow you, but he doesn’t make too many bad mistakes either. Sanford can also provide some scoring with 17 points in 58 games this year.
Like Paul, Sanford is also a bottom-six left-winger, so the same teams interested in Paul would also be interested in Sanford. Ottawa will probably receive a middle-round draft pick for him. This seems like the most likely of the Ottawa Senators trades to happen.
Once Shane Pinto comes back there won’t be enough room for Chris Tierney, so Ottawa should move the pending unrestricted free agent. Tierney has been a good competitor this year. When he’s on the ice, the Senators have more scoring chances according to Natural Stat Trick. His defence has also been excellent. Evolving Hockey’s even-strength defence goals above average metric have him as the league’s 29th best defensive forward this season among those who have played 300 minutes or above. Tierney’s issue is scoring. He’s managed 34 points over the past 106 games. If a team needs a defensive centre, Tierney is an option.
Teams that could be interested in Chris Tierney include the Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Nashville Predators. Tierney has a $3.5 million salary-cap hit so Ottawa will have to retain salary to move him. They can probably get a mid-round draft pick for him.
If any Ottawa Senators trades are made this deadline, they’re probably going to be minor sell-offs over any major trades. I expect Ottawa will be more active in the offseason as they try to add pieces to complement their young core and make a playoff run next year. This year, they will sell what they can but aren’t anticipated to make major moves.