The Ottawa Senators were the talk of the NHL on Thursday evening with a Vladimir Tarasenko signing that was long awaited. The deal pays Tarasenko $5 million for one season. Originally, people had thought Tarasenko was landing with the Carolina Hurricanes. However, that deal fell through. Ottawa took advantage of that and has now bolstered their forward group.
Although the Vladimir Tarasenko signing is great, there are a few additional roster moves that Ottawa Senators will now have to make before they start thinking about the season and its success. Here is why a Vladimir Tarasenko signing means there should be more moves ahead for the Ottawa Senators.
Vladimir Tarasenko Signing
Tarasenko signing with the Senators is a massive win for the organization. It was rumoured he had offers from a few other places that are not only contenders but also much warmer climates. However, Ottawa used what they have to their advantage. Not only do the Sens have an exciting young core, but they also weaponized something we have rarely seen Ottawa use, cap space.
The other teams in on Tarasenko almost certainly could not have offered him $5 million. Which is why it makes what Ottawa did so great. Yes, there is a chance Tarasenko’s age and injuries catch up to him and he is not the player the team hopes. But if that worst-case does happen, the Sens kept the deal at one year to have an out. The best-case scenario? Tarasenko finds his second wind playing a lesser role with Ottawa’s skilled youth. He has the potential to be a difference-maker down the stretch for this team.
The biggest thing this deal does is replace the immediate loss of Alex DeBrincat. Yes, it is only one season. However, the value of Tarasenko and Dominik Kubalik making just shy of $8 million combined should help. This provides the value that looked like it may have been lost when DeBrincat was moved out. Yes, you also need to factor in it was two roster spots and not one. However, if you look at it as DeBrincat and a league minimum contract versus Kubalik and Tarasenko? Suddenly things don’t look so bad this season.
They will still need to figure out what to do going forward, but that is not the concern right now. Right now, Ottawa’s only concern is figuring out how to make it over the hump and into the playoffs. This team has shown the potential to be very good for a few years now, but something has always gone wrong. Tarasenko should help prevent that by adding another weapon to the team and depth to the forward group.
Moves to Come
This might be the most interesting part about the Vladimir Tarasenko signing. There have to be more roster moves to come for the Ottawa Senators. According to Capfriendly.com, they currently have $895,000 in cap space left to use. However, they only have 10 forwards, seven defencemen, and one goalie on the roster. Both Joshua Norris and Anton Forsberg can be included in that equation as well. They are both listed on the injured reserve accounting for $10.7 million. It is possible both players start the season injured, so, need to be replaced on the roster.
Shane Pinto is an Group 10.2 (c) RFA, and Egor Sokolov is an RFA as well. It seems reasonable to assume both of these players will start the year with Ottawa. Sokolov shouldn’t be a hard contract. His lack of NHL time or success means he will likely play for under $1 million and they will re-evaluate down the line. The interesting one is Pinto. EvolvingHockey has Pinto’s projected contract at two years for $1.78 million per season. If we assume that Sokolov also gets the one year, $809,000 they are projecting, that puts Ottawa roughly $920,000 over the cap, and they still need a backup goalie.
Mads Soogard seems like the most likely option and he makes $925,000 as well, putting Ottawa around $1.85 million over the cap with a roster of 12 forwards, seven defencemen, and two goalies. If they want to add an extra forward they likely get to around $2.7 million over the cap.
Considering there are no contracts that Ottawa can really send down, the most likely scenario becomes a trade. If Pinto signs a one-year deal, EvolvingHockey estimates the cap hit would be $1.3 million. Let’s assume both sides agree on that and Sokolov signs for his 800k. That is where Pierre Dorion will have to put his magic to use, and make one important trade for the team. Thus, putting an end to a successive ‘Summer of Pierre.’
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