With five days between games, there’s been time for several developments in the world of the Ottawa Senators. Between Drake Batherson and Filip Chlapik’s demotions, Vitaly Abramov’s recall, rumours of a potential sale, and the trade for Vladislav Namestnikov, we’ve got lots of ground to cover:
- We’d be remiss if we didn’t kick things off by mentioning that Sportsnet reporter Chris Johnston was on the radio yesterday talking about the possibility of Eugene Melnyk putting the team up for sale. Johnston covers a lot of ground in the interview, the Sens part starts at 15:40 or so, but the key words are “We believe the team is for sale.” Well then! I wouldn’t count on a sale being completed tomorrow, but this is the first time I can remember a real insider with real connections reporting the team is up for sale. Don’t hold your breath, but this might be cause for real excitement.
- The Athletic had two somewhat opposite takes on the Namestnikov trade: one from Graeme Nichols that took a mostly negative view, one from Hailey Salvian with some more positive feelings — and featuring some quotes from members of the organization. A key section:
Smith said he could see Batherson’s confidence being negatively impacted, which is something the organization needs to avoid if these young players are truly going to be the foundation of the team in years to come.
“That’s our plan: that these guys get reps down (in the AHL) and they get confidence, and then when they come up, they are ready,” Smith said. “And without the player we got today, we are one injury away from having to call up another young guy, and I think this just gives us more depth and buys us a little bit of time.”
Personally, my take is that the price the Sens paid for Namestnikov was pretty close to nothing and he can definitely play. They could use another NHLer or two to help get through what will be a difficult season. At the same time, every middling NHLer the team adds takes away one more spot from a youngster. It’s going to be a tricky balancing act for the rest of the season, and I’m not totally convinced this trade wasn’t in part spurred by the team getting blown off the ice in the first two games. If the Sens plan on flipping him for more than they paid by the deadline, this will be a good piece of work. If they don’t end up dealing him and then he walks as a UFA after the season, it will have been a bit silly to pay even a fourth round pick to prop up a lost season. We shall see where this one goes.
- If you subscribe to the theory that the Sens panicked a bit in trading for Namestnikov, it’s almost certainly the case that the Sharks were sweating bullets when they signed Patrick Marleau yesterday after their 0-4 start to the season. Marleau turned 40 in mid-September and has played a lottttt of hockey — 1657 regular games in total over 21 seasons. He can still skate, but it’s debatable as to how much he’ll contribute. Sens fans will, of course, be keeping an eye on where the Sharks finish since San Jose owes Ottawa its first round pick this year.
- You may recall from Ary’s prospect piece on Tuesday that Olle Alsing is having a great start to his SHL season. Uffe Bodin had a nice little feature with Alsing over at Elite Prospects on Wednesday. Among other things, Alsing explains that he probably would not have signed with Ottawa if they hadn’t allowed him to play this season in Sweden:
Going into this season, there were a lot of question marks surrounding where he was going to play. Despite signing a two-year pact with the Senators as an undrafted free agent, Alsing pushed hard to play another season in Stockholm. The NHL club was happy to oblige.
”Some teams aren’t willing to offer that solution. They want you to come and play in the AHL”, Alsing said. ”But Ottawa was a team that actually thought this was a good idea. We came to this solution and it feels really good. Had they not agreed to this, I would probably not have signed with them.”
So far, it’s pretty hard to argue with the results.
- Lastly, in case you missed it: Matthew Tkachuk, brother of our favourite shithead son, scored a real beauty Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings:
For those of you that are out of the loop, Tkachuk and Drew Doughty are engaged in a bit of a spicy back and forth. On this occasion, though, Doughty got the last word and he certainly celebrated like it meant a bit more than a run-of-the-mill regular season game:
I rate this beef as sizzling!