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Meet the Sellers: the Ottawa Senators

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Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
Welcome back to a mini-series Tyler Yaremchuk and I are doing leading up to the trade deadline: Meet the Sellers. Earlier this week we looked at the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Are the Ottawa Senators going to be true sellers looking to move big pieces? Unlikely, but this is a team that teams could pluck away at. The biggest story will be how they handle Alex DeBrincat, who they acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks last year in a blockbuster draft trade. He’s an RFA at seasons end.
But the Sens as a whole haven’t been that bad this season. They’re 24-23-3 in the Atlantic Division with 51 standings points, but have been able to put some games together here and there. They’re young and upcoming, to say the least. This year they rank 24th in goals (151) and 17th in goals against (159).
Here are four players who could be on the move:

Alex DeBrincat

RW, right-shot

Age: 25
Stats: 50 GP, 17 G, 24 A, 41 Pts
5×5 Analytics: 51.28 CF%, 43.75 GF%, 50.88 xGF%, 97.9 PDO.
Contract: RFA, $6.4-million cap hit.
Zach Laing: I’m not sure what the route here is for DeBrincat and the Senators. There have been rumours the team could trade him, but I genuinely get the feeling they want to keep him around. Alas, he would be a great addition to the Oilers’ top-six. He’s a driver of offence and elite at setting up teammates. Could you imagine him setting up Connor or Leon? Yes please. The acquisition cost — and the cost to keep him — would keep the Oilers out of it.
Tyler Yaremchuk: The Senators gave up a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and a third-round pick for Debrincat over the summer with the aspirations of turning themselves into playoff contenders. Well, that didn’t happen and now they’re faced with a tough decision. They could let this run until the summer and risk having to take on a massive qualifying offer or they could move him now and cut their losses. He is apparently on the block and the Oilers would undoubtedly benefit from adding some extra offense, but I don’t think Debrincat is the answer. He’s not great in his own end and he doesn’t play a style that I think will be overly effective in the playoffs. I’d be wildly intrigued to see him next to McDavid but the Oilers would almost have to treat him like a rental and he’s not a perfect fit. I’d pass and look for someone with a little bit more jam.

Tyler Motte

W, left-shot
Age: 27
Stats: 34 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 Pts
5×5 Analytics: 48.25 CF%, 52 GF%, 46.35 xGF%, 101.6 PDO.
Contract: UFA, $1.35-million cap hit
Zach Laing: This is the type of player I think the Oilers target at the deadline. A physical, bottom-six winger who is reliable defensively and can kill penalties (albeit, not very effectively). Is it a sexy add? Far from it, but Oilers fans need to prepare for this kind of move. Think Derick Brassard from last year.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Motte is a guy that plays a hard-nosed style and can kill penalties. His cap hit is only $1.35, so if the Sens kept half of it then the Oilers could easily squeeze him in. He would line up with their goal of getting harder to play against but I worry about his lack of offensive production. Counting both the regular season and playoffs, he has just 12 goals in his last 112 games (past two seasons). I like him, but I think Holland can aim much higher when it comes to improving the bottom six.

Travis Hamonic

RH D
Age: 32
Stats: 50 GP, 3 G, 5 A, 8 Pts
5×5 Analytics: 51.42 CF%, 37.5 GF%, 50.55 xGF%, 96.2 PDO.
Contract: Pending UFA, $3-million cap hit.
Zach Laing: Talk about getting bit by the PDO bug. Despite having positive possession numbers and expected goal numbers, Hamonic’s getting caved in on the ice. Much like with Motte, this is the type of player I think the Oilers target, but I’ll take the pass on Hamonic. His defensive impacts are poor, and he’s an ineffective penalty killer.
Tyler Yaremchuk: The $3 million cap hit almost makes this a non-starter for me. When adding players to the bottom of the roster, the Oilers almost exclusively need to focus on players who’s salaries can be retained to a point where they’re less than $1 million. Hamonic is fine defensively but if the Oilers are finding ways to shed salary in order to acquire players, Holland should be aiming higher than Hamonic.

Nick Holden

LH D
Age: 35
Stats: 45 GP, 1 G, 8 A, 9 Pts
5×5 Analytics: 53.05 CF%, 38.64 GF%, 52.11 xGF%, 96.2 PDO.
Contract: One year left, $1.3-million
Zach Laing: Bring Holden home. Seriously though, I could see the Oilers trading for the St. Albert native. He’s a big body at 6’4, and that’s the type of player I see adding at the deadline. His impacts are solid and he can kill some penalties as well. The cost would be cheap and he’d be a solid 7/8 defenceman.
Tyler Yaremchuk: He’s a great check down option, but isn’t an answer for the Oilers. He’s cheap, he’s got some playoff experience, and he’s a local guy. It’d be like a cheaper version of the Brett Kulak trade from a vibes perspective. On the ice, I don’t think you’d be expecting him to be too effective but having extra depth come playoff time is never a bad idea. If the ask is a late-round pick and the Senators kept half of his $1.3 million cap hit then I think it could end up being a nice move for Ken Holland.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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