Who Could the Senators Trade at the Deadline

(Jana Chytilova/Getty)

The Ottawa Senators haven’t shied away from trades in the past few seasons, trading pretty much all of their playoff core, highlighted by stars like Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, and more. Even though they’ve traded everyone who could be considered very highly coveted players, their wealth of players with expiring contracts means they could still be incredibly active at the deadline this year. Who could the Senators trade at the deadline?

The Obvious

Let’s start with the obvious trade candidates.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Pageau is one of the four Senators still left behind from their 2017 cup run, so it’s a bit cruel to have him on here. Unfortunately, it makes sense for him to be a trade candidate. During the run, he was a young player with a very crucial role in their run, finishing with 10 points in their 19 game run. Now, he’s turning 27, and it seems he might have to end up being a casualty of the Sens’ immense roster change. Pageau broke out in 2015-16, with 43 points at 23. His production took a huge dip afterwards, but he’s definitely rediscovered his scoring touch. Pageau went on fire in November, absolutely dominating on the scoresheet. He’s cooled down now, but he still has 40 points in 60 games. That’s a 54 point pace.

Pageau isn’t just a threat on the scoreboard though. JPG is notably solid as a two-way centre, which only makes him more desirable as an option for teams. Pageau carries a $3.1m cap hit until his contract expires in July. That makes him a very good option for teams looking to really strengthen their lineup.

Potential Return: Pageau is in a position to be one of the more coveted players come the deadline. Pageau has proven he has the ability to be a solid addition on both ends of the ice and has notably done well in the playoffs. He has the potential to fetch a 1st Round Pick+. Ottawa will be hard-pressed to find a team willing to give up a 2020 1st, but I think Pageau ends up fetching a 2021 1st + (a decent prospect or a mid-draft pick, etc.)

Tyler Ennis

It’s really hard to look at the Tyler Ennis signing and imagine both parties expect him to finish the season in Ottawa. Ennis — after being bought out by Minnesota — joined the Maple Leafs, and was one of their biggest depth player success stories, but was derailed by injury. He proved he’s still a high energy player, but wouldn’t garner a spectacular amount of attention in free agency. Ennis ended up betting on himself, joining a weaker Sens team, with the assurance that he’d get a higher role than he would in many other organizations.

With a cheap $800k cap hit over one year, if Ennis could put up respectable numbers with Ottawa, it’s hard to imagine teams won’t give him a long look at the deadline. A cheap bottom-six winger with scoring potential is almost sure to attract attention. Although he won’t get a very large return, it’s hard to imagine the Senators won’t at least think about trading him. Currently, he’s on a 44 point pace, which is pretty great for his contract.

Potential Return: I think Tyler Ennis’ trade value completely depends on the market for secondary scoring. I wouldn’t be shocked if the market for him rises after pricier options (see Pageau) go off the market. I say he gets a 3rd and a meh prospect at most, which isn’t bad for a cheap signing. However, with rumours of interest from Edmonton, I wouldn’t be surprised if they squeezed out a 2nd.

Vladislav Namestnikov

Not long ago, the Senators acquired Vladislav Namestnikov from the New York Rangers. Namestnikov was a rising player years earlier in Tampa Bay, putting up over 40 points beside players like Nikita Kucherov, before being traded to New York. With the Rangers, he had a bit of a rockier start but finished his first full season there with 31 points. Cap concerns, as well as the knowledge that he’d have to be traded at some point, let the Senators acquire him for cheap (a 2021 4th rounder and Nick Ebert).

Namestnikov is a good two-way forward, and the Senators have used him in a prominent role. The Senators have taken a great bet, and they clearly expect the 26-year-old to increase his value, enough to get a larger return by the deadline. His $3.25m cap hit isn’t super terrible for a player like him, meaning he’s a very strong candidate to be traded. At a 36 point pace, he could provide some value to teams that really need it. Namestnikov has cooled off since the beginning of the year, but the value is there. The Senators began to sit out Namestnikov for “Asset Management”, so clearly there’s some interest.

Potential Return: I think he fetches a 3rd round pick. That’s still an upgrade from what the Sens got him for! If the Senators do decide to retain salary (which, yeah I get it, impossible), then they could potentially get more. He’s a solid bottom-six option for a team that needs one. However, as talk heats up, it’s likely that Namestnikov could fetch a 2nd round pick +.

Chris Tierney

Chris Tierney isn’t exactly a rental piece. Tierney has a lot of things going for him. The 25-year-old becomes an RFA on July 1st, he’s not just a rental player who’ll be gone by the end of the season. Tierney also hit 48 points — a career-high — on a very notably weak Senators team last season. He hasn’t exactly excelled this season, however. He’s on a 40 point pace as the Senators’ 2C. Tierney has been considered a good two-way player, something teams should value. An interested team likely would have to be interested in keeping Tierney for a couple of years, they would have to buy into the idea that Tierney hasn’t reached his peak, and will be a solid addition for years to come, but that carries value.

Potential Return: I think Tierney could fetch a 2nd round pick +, he could be a mainstay at 3C for a team for more than just the playoffs run, and I think teams will value that. He’s old enough that his future in Ottawa isn’t very bright but old enough that he could be viewed as a longer-term piece.

The Options

Mikkel Boedker

Mikkel Boedker is not having the best season. Before the infamous Hoffman trade, Boedker was known to be a solid 30-40 point guy. A speedy winger, he was a solid two-way player with some nice offensive upside. That translated into his first season in Ottawa, when he scored 35 points in 71 games. Then, he just fell off a cliff this season. Mikkel Boedker has appeared in a total of 11 games this season and has a goal and two assists. That’s… that’s not good. No bueno. Ce n’est pas bon. He’s been impacted by injury, but he’s also been healthy scratched often… in Ottawa. Boedker has shown that he’s capable of being a decent bottom-six winger option, but it hasn’t translated into a good performance this year.

The issue with moving Boedker is his contract. Mikkel Boedker has a $4 million cap hit and makes $3 million in salary this year before his contract expires on July 1st. Initially, teams showed interest in Boedker, but it’s likely that has died down. Mock trades included trades for similarly bad, expiring contracts. The later we get into the season, the less likely it is he gets traded. However, even if the Senators retain 50% on him, they would still save money (around $500k to my knowledge).

Potential Return: Ottawa will probably take anything for him, but as scoring options rapidly fly off to other destinations, Boedker should be looked into. The Senators would likely be happy to get rid of whatever is left that they owe him. Betting on a guy who hit 30-40 points just last season isn’t a terrible last option. I’m not going to list a potential return, maybe just a “?”.

Mike Reilly

Mike Reilly isn’t a terrible option for defensive depth. Reilly was acquired in January, in exchange for Andrew Sturtz and a 2021 5th round pick. He was acquired to be an NHL-calibre player to eat some minutes. He’s notably strong as being an offensive defenseman, he has the tools to succeed in that role. Reilly is meh defensively, but compared to the market, he’s pretty okay.

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Perfectly out of context comparison via Evolving Hockey

Mike Reilly has a $1.5 million cap hit until July 1st, 2021, after which he’ll be a UFA. The issue is how much a team wants that term for a bottom-pairing defenseman. There’s also the idea that Ottawa might not be keen on giving him up. Reilly could be the acceptable NHL defenseman to allow younger players to transition into Ottawa, his salary and term fit that.

Potential Return: The market on defensemen is pretty high at the moment, it’s interesting to see how that impacts less prominent defensemen. At most, the Senators could manage to ship Reilly off for a 3rd round pick. Market value is probably a 2020 4th round pick, which is an upgrade from the price the Sens paid not long ago,

Artem Anisimov

Not long ago, Artem Anisimov was a consistent 20-goal guy beside the likes of Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin in Chicago. He’s fallen a bit since then, but not as much as it looks. Anisimov is still a 30 point player, and he’s notably been a solid two-way centre. He has 13 goals in 44 games, which is roughly a 24 goal pace on 82 games. However, 4 assists and a 4th line role on the Senators might be a bit of a caution for teams.

Not only that, but Artem Anisimov was slated to make $2 million in base salary this season and he’ll make $3 million next season. He carries a 4.55 million dollar cap hit until July 1st, 2021. The Senators might get more if they wait until next season, when they can freely trade him as a rental for teams that need to strengthen their bottom six, probably with retained salary.

Potential Return: I’m finding it hard to imagine that a team trades for Anisimov with his current term and cap hit. At this point, he might just fetch a similar deal to how he was acquired. A deal for a player similar in value and contract. However, at the deadline next year, that could change.


Connor Brown

Connor Brown has been a pleasant surprise in Ottawa this season. Brown went on a tear at the beginning of the season, putting up 12 points in his first 13 games. Connor Brown is on a 47 point pace and is a very solid two-way winger. Acquired in the Ceci/Zaitsev trade, Brown was a sweetener, but few expected Brown to take this step up, considering he was an okay/underwhelming winger in his time in Toronto. At 26, Brown has a $2.1 million cap hit until July 1st, when he becomes an RFA. It’s very likely that the Senators have him in their future plans, but if they decide he doesn’t fit in their contending timeframe, then they could explore moving him.

Potential Return: It looks like Brown is just hitting his prime, he won’t be a rental for a team, he’s a solid piece that will probably stick for a long time. I may be overrating him, but I believe a team could pay up to a first (not 2020) for him, but a trade involving him would likely revolve around younger roster players and prospects.

Ron Hainsey

I don’t think it’s very likely the Ottawa Senators part ways with Ron Hainsey, he’s their assistant captain, and will likely be a part of Ottawa’s leadership team until he decides to retire. However, at 38, it’s likely that retirement isn’t very far away. Ottawa will need to figure out how much they value what could be two months more of Hainsey’s leadership, or if they value some assets. Hainsey has notably been a workhorse throughout his career and has seen 25+ minutes per game on multiple occasions this season.

He’s a sound stay-at-home defenseman who can chip in some offense at times. Ron Hainsey is a minute-muncher, he can eat up minutes on the 2nd or 3rd pairing, and he won’t do absolutely terribly. His contract could be a deterrent. Hainsey has a $3.5 million cap hit on a deal that expires in July. Still, he’s listed around 40th on TSN’s Trade Bait list, he could see himself moved.

Potential Return: Ottawa can get quite a bit back for Hainsey if they retain salary. The defenseman market has notably been very high. Hainsey’s intangibles and experience could make a team bite, and pay up a 2nd-3rd round pick.

Craig Anderson

It’s hard to trade someone who’s done as much for the franchise as Craig Anderson. Anderson, alongside the likes of Erik Karlsson, lead the team to their glorious run in 2017, the year he won the Bill Masterton Trophy. As it stands right now, Anderson is the best goalie in Modern Ottawa Senators’ history. So, why is he here? Anderson is 38, his contract expires on July 1st, and he’s stuck on a tanking Senators team. It’s also worth noting that he hasn’t won a Cup yet. Obviously, there’s a lot of factors here. Does Anderson want to move his family? He has a 10 team NTC, so he gets some choice. Does Craig Anderson retire after this season? Does the Senators organization want to part ways with Craig Anderson as they’ve done with other Senators legends?

There’s more to it than that. Anderson carries a $4.75 million cap hit until July 1st, and he has a .900 SV%, albeit on a struggling Senators team. Ottawa would have to retain salary to get anything of significance for Anderson. Even then, it leaves a hole in the roster. Do the Senators call up Joey D’Accord from the AHL and give him time beside Marcus Hogberg? Who do the AHL Sens call up? Anders Nilsson’s future seems to be unknown, he’s currently out with a concussion. There are a number of caveats surrounding an Anderson trade, but it should be looked into.

Potential Return: At 50% retained, Anderson is still a $2,375,000 goalie. If anything, Craig Anderson is only an option if you’re a playoffs team with a need for a solid backup goalie, AND have a lot of cap space. After all the big fish fly off the board, I wouldn’t be shocked if a team buys low on Anderson. Maybe a mid-draft pick? (A 4th-5th)

Honourable Snubs

Mark Borowiecki

The “Boro-Cop” is pretty much a fan-favourite in Ottawa. The fans love him, the police love him, Eugene Melnyk loves him. The only people that don’t love him are criminals. He could probably fetch a significant amount on the market, but I think he stays in Ottawa for a long time. The Ottawa native isn’t going anywhere.

Anthony Duclair

In the future, maybe, but at 24, Duclair looks to be a part of the Senators’ future. He showed a very bright flash of greatness earlier in the season, and is on pace for 30 goals in a full season. Anthony Duclair will likely look to make his game more consistent on a bridge contract before he lands a large return/payday elsewhere.

Jayce Hawryluk

Jayce Hawryluk, a name you cannot convince me is real, showed promise in his first NHL season last year. That hasn’t carried to this year. Hawyrluk appeared in only 15 games with the Panthers before recently being claimed off waivers by Ottawa. His odds of being tendered a qualifying offer are low already, he’ll need more time in Ottawa before his future is decided.

Scott Sabourin

Scott Sabourin has been a nice story this season. For a guy I had behind Stephen Gionta, Trent Vogelhuber, Nick Moutrey, and a bunch of other guys you hadn’t heard of in my “Top RWs left on the Market” article from two years ago, he’s come a long way. I don’t think he has enough trade value to be shopped and I don’t think Ottawa is interested in moving him, he’ll be a Senator for a while I would think.

Bobby Ryan

I’m not going to go very in-depth on Bobby Ryan, but wow, it’s been a tough going for him. The Senators hate his pricey contract, his hands hate not being injured, it’s just not working for him. Bobby Ryan recently opened up about his struggles with alcohol abuse, and his rocky upbringing has been well-documented. I, personally, wish him all the best, and I would assume the Senators will wait on trying to shop his deal.

Why Would the Senators Trade Anyone?

Assets! A lot of these guys don’t have the clearest future in Ottawa. The Senators are a rebuilding team that’s very close to being a young, budding team. Will they trade all of these guys? No! I don’t think they’ll trade more than 3-4 of these guys. These are just players I think the Senators should look into trading.

Why Would the Senators Retain Salary?

If they don’t, they could be stuck paying the entire salary, and not part with some of it. They could save money by retaining salary, depending on the player they’re retaining salary on. It’s genius!

Doesn’t That Mean They’re Paying Someone Not to Play?

Yes, but you’re Eugene Melnyk, does that matter if you’re paying less as a whole (assuming the replacement costs less than the player going out)?

Anyways, those are who I think the Senators could consider trading. Did I miss anyone? Do you disagree with my predicted returns? Let me know!

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