The veteran right defenceman Nikita Zaitsev is on the move. The Ottawa Senators have a Nikita Zaitsev trade that sends him to the Chicago Blackhawks. The deal should be advantageous to both sides. The Sens send Zaitsev as well as a 2023 2ndround pick and a 2026 4th round pick for future considerations.
Full trade, per sources:
To Chicago: Nikita Zaitsev, 2023 2nd Rd Pick, 2026 4th Rd Pick.
To Ottawa: Future considerations.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 23, 2023
Ottawa Senators Announce Nikita Zaitsev Trade
The Nikita Zaitsev trade is a solid pickup. He is more than capable as an NHL defender. However, Ottawa had been targeting ice time in developing some of their young players, such as Jacob Bernard-Docker or Jake Sanderson. Thus far in 2022-23, in a limited role with the Senators, he has five assists in 28 games played. Last season, he contributed two goals, and nine assists for 11 points in 62 games played.
How This Impacts The Senators
Heading into the trade deadline, this is a huge deal for the Ottawa Senators. This will free up nearly $6 Million for the Sens, according to Seravalli. The Ottawa Senators have been well known to pursue a top-four right defenceman, and this gives them the flexibility to do it. In addition, this will give them salary cap room to offer to pending RFA Alex DeBrincat. Many in the organization feel that acquiring a big-name defenceman allows them to make the leap in the competitive Eastern Conference. Some examples of players rumoured to be on the move, the Sens could potentially target include Ottawa-area native MacKenzie Weegar or Mattias Ekholm. Both Weegar and Ekholm are right hand defenceman, and possibly on the move.
How This Impacts The Blackhawks
This is a decent move for the Blackhawks. They get a couple of draft picks as a team rebuilding. Furthermore, Zaitsev will be a good role model for up-and-coming defencemen. The 31-year-old is a solid third-pairing type of guy. Also, he can kill penalties, as he had been doing with the Senators. This move made sense for the Blackhawks since they have plenty of salary cap room.