Meet the Sellers: Ottawa Senators

Photo credit:© Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
2 months ago
The Ottawa Senators are playing better as of late, but it won’t be nearly enough for them to climb up the standings and into a playoff spot. The team will again be on the outside looking in for a seventh consecutive year. 
This is a series called Meet the Sellers. As the Edmonton Oilers are in a “Stanley Cup or Bust” year, we’re going to look at the teams who have no other aspirations this season other than adding some prospects and picks and jockeying for a better position in the 2024 Draft Lottery.
Before diving into the Ottawa Senators, let’s look at some of Edmonton’s needs. We’ll be ranking them from the most needed to the least needed.
Second-pairing right-shot defenceman: Cody Ceci isn’t a bad defender by any stretch, but he’s better suited to the third pairing, while the Oilers need a second-pairing right-shot defenceman to play alongside Darnell Nurse.
Second-line winger: Even on their 16-game win streak, Edmonton’s scoring ability was in question. They’ll need to pick up a proven scorer to play alongside Leon Draisaitl and a mix of wingers that include Evander Kane and Warren Foegele.
Right-shot defenceman depth: Last season, the Oilers had Jason Demers in the American Hockey League as a backup plan if a right-shot defenceman got injured. Thankfully, the Oilers remained relatively healthy that season and have barely missed any games from their defence this season, but they don’t have a veteran right-shot defenceman in the minors this year.
Competent backup goaltender: Over his past three games, Stuart Skinner has posted a sub .900 save percentage after being one of the best netminders in the league since November 11. It’s not unfair to say that he’s tired from playing so many games, so getting him a 1B netminder who can play the same number of games could help the Oilers significantly.
Third-line centre: Ryan McLeod has played a lot better than at the start of the season, and this has become less of a need. Bob Stauffer, however, believes the Oilers need a right-shot centre man who can play 15 minutes or so a night.

Who could the Ottawa Senators sell:

This was supposed to be the Senators’ first good season in years, as they were just six points shy of a playoff spot in 2022-23. The Sens traded a first-round pick for Jakob Chychrun at last season’s trade deadline as a move to become competitive in the future and have added high-profile free agents but the team is stuck in the mud. 
Unfortunately for the Senators, they have a 22-26-2 record for 46 points, the second-worst in the Eastern Conference and the fifth-worst overall.  They’ve played better in recent memory, posting a 6-2-2 record over their last 10 games, but it looks like another season of picking high in the draft.
Let’s take a look at who they could trade for even more picks and prospects.
Vladimir Tarasenko is the most obvious fit, as the 32-year-old right-winger has 14 goals and 35 points in 48 games with the Sens this season. The Russian is a five-time 30+ goal scorer, most recently in 2021-22, but has even hit the 40-goal mark back in 2015-16. Tarasenko won a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2018-19 where he scored 11 goals and 17 points in 26 games. The 32-year-old has a no-trade clause, as well as a cap hit of $5 million until the end of the season.
Dominik Kubalík was the player they got in the mismanagement of trading for Alex DeBrincat. Last season, Kubalík had 20 goals and 45 points, nearly setting a career-high in points that he set in his rookie season when he scored 30 goals and 46 points. Unfortunately, the 28-year-old has just nine goals and 12 points with the Senators this season. Good, cheap depth, as he has a cap hit of $2.5 million until the end of this season, but not the answer to Edmonton’s problems.
Claude Giroux probably thought he was joining a good team when he signed in the summer of 2022. It looked that way in his first season, but the 2023-24 season has been a disaster for the Senators. Regardless, the 36-year-old right-shot centre leads the team in points with 47, as well as scoring 18 goals, while setting a career-high the prior season with 35. He’s a great fit, but the contract is what makes this trade nearly impossible, as he has a no-move clause and a cap hit of $6.5 million until the end of the 2025-26 season.
Jakob Chychrun was acquired at last season’s deadline for a first-round pick and a few other picks, including a second-round pick in the 2024 draft. This season, the left-shot defenceman has eight goals and 29 points and is on pace to set a new career-high in points with 47 (prior high was 41). Chychrun has a cap hit of $4.6 million with no restrictions until the end of the 2024-25 season but shoots left-handed, which the Oilers don’t need. The 25-year-old has experience playing the right side, so it could be a fit, just not a natural one.
Artem Zub is the closest fit to a right-shot defenceman that can be played in a shutdown role. This season, he has three goals and 18 points, and will blow by his career-high of 22 points. Zub also plays a significant number of minutes against elite competition, this season playing 275.1 minutes or 40.7% of his ice time according to Woodmoney. Zub has a cap hit of $4.6 million until the end of the 2026-27 season and has a 10-team, no-trade list.
Travis Hamonic isn’t as good as he used to be, he’s 33 now, but he does have two goals and five points in 43 games, and had six goals and 21 points last season. Hamonic fills the need for a depth defenceman and has a cap hit of $1.1 million until the end of the 2024-25 season. Unfortunately, he also has a no-move clause which makes a trade significantly difficult to pull off, especially if the Oilers want him as a seventh defenceman.

Previously in this series…

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