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Ottawa Senators With a High Priced Right Shot Defenceman

For today’s article, we take our motivation from the Coming In Hot Sens podcast. We will explore what a potential 2024-25 Ottawa Senators roster that includes Colton Parayko on it looks like. Also, with the added caveat of the roster being generally accepted to be a playoff worthy one.

How Could the Ottawa Senators Fit Colton Parayko on Their Roster

As mentioned, we are building off the discussion from Brent Wallace and Jason ‘Yorkie’ York on the Sens podcast. They mentioned Colton Parayko and Nikolaj Ehlers, in particular, as interesting possibilities for the Ottawa Senators to explore in the 2024 offseason. More theoretical, but one takeaway is that it could be used as a baseline for other prospective newcomers and the potential impact on the roster. For those two names, it would most probably be a one-or-the-other type scenario. However, adding either one to the current Sens roster would undoubtedly be a boost. Of course someone with Parayko’s current price tag, of $6.5 M, would have a cause-and-effect impact on the rest of the roster alignment. We will touch on that later, but for now, let’s look at how we arrived to this finding.

When you really dig in, President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Steve Staios does have a lot of options. If you sprinkle in a bit of luck, in terms of exact transactional logistics, you end up with a recipe for success, playoff contention success to be specific. As you can imagine, the trade itself to land Parayko includes a bigger package.

The Trade That Sends Colton Parayko to the Ottawa Senators

The trade we went with was probably overvalue. In contrast, given the demand for his type of player (big, physical, right-shot, and puck mobility), it isn’t farfetched by any stretch of the imagination. The package includes Anton Forsberg, Jacob Bernard-Docker, the rights to Erik Brannstrom, and the Sens first round pick in 2024 from the Boston Bruins. This should provide the St. Louis Blues with plenty of benefits, including growing their blueline for the future. Moreover, the nice part of this deal for the Senators, was freeing up just enough cap space, compared to 2023-24.

The problem with a player of Parayko’s calibre and contract specifically, also needs to be discussed. The Sens don’t have a lot of assets that this roster can give up in order to acquire the services of such a high-calibre player. For example, St. Louis would really have to value someone like Erik Brannstrom to make the specific trade we did work.

How Will the Senators Defence Look One Through Six

This trade follows the idea of taking advantage of the fact that Jakob Chychrun comes in at a bargain. So, in a sense, try not to think of Chychrun as a third pair defender, think of it as the Sens having three stacked pairings. Therefore, the Senators are able to load up their defensive core, and their roster in general, for the 2024-25 playoff run. As an example from 2023-24, Chychrun and Jake Sanderson both played better with Thomas Chabot in the lineup.

Chabot – Parayko

Sanderson – Zub

Chychrun – Kleven


Exploring Ehlers as an Option Upfront

The other name that they mentioned from their podcast was Nikolaj Ehlers. As we also mentioned, it is a case of one-or-the-other for the Ottawa Senators between Colton Parayko and Ehlers. The reason being, the monetary side of things. But let’s focus on just adding Ehlers this time around, as we examined was adding Parayko would do to the defence, we will do the same for Ehlers on the forward group.

Someone like an Ehlers makes sense, because of who the Senators added the past two seasons. Having either Alex DeBrincat from 2022-23 or Vladimir Tarasenko in 2023-24, really carried this lineup through the muck. Imagine where the team would’ve been without those players in the lineup. The motivation here, is especially considering the salary cap increase, that the Senators roster alignment, with not many if any changes, should have the financial capacity to take on a similar type contract. Aside from Ehlers, there are other options as well.

To Trade or Not to Trade

The names are not set in stone but Matthew Dumba, Anthony Duclair, Adam Larsson, Connor Murphy, or Vincent Desharnais are some other possibilities. That includes alternate options for either of Ehlers or Parayko. Furthermore, perhaps a Dylan DeMelo and Nikolaj Ehlers trade package combination would be extremely enticing for Sens. And their fans. But it really depends on whether or not Staios makes any major moves involving current rostered players. For instance, packing Josh Norris and Chychrun in a trade offer, especially considering Norris’ contract, really opens the floodgates of possibilities.

The signing we will suggest, does have a bit of a “what if’ factor. If Pinto comes in at $3 million or less, that really opens other doors as well, while keeping the current roster largely the same. The suggested signing to go with Parayko, and still bring the Sens in under the cap, is Tyler Toffoli. The upcoming free agent did score 33 goals this year, and might be pricy. But if he wants to come in on a one-year deal as a supporting cast member at a bargain for Staios, it would be a great fit all-around.

Pinto is the Main Priority for Staios

The one interesting debate, is do the Senators want to stand pat. If they stand pat, that still includes re-signing Shane Pinto, which is basically Steve Staios’ main priority for 2024 summer. This should still leave comfortably $3-4 M for either a depth forward or a right-shot defenceman. If the Sens are doing it anyway, why not throw in a big asset and land a big fish. The problem is, especially for a big time impact right-shot defenceman, is the cost. The Damon Severson is a good example of how costly they can become. And why landing Colton Parayko for the Ottawa Senators is such an appealing thought.

A Hockey Trade that Makes Sense to Steve Staios and the Ottawa Senators


Main photo credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports


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