With the first trade of what will likely be a busy deadline period, the Ottawa Senators shipped Dylan DeMelo to the cold, barren wasteland of Winnipeg, Manitoba. In exchange, the team received Winnipeg’s third-round pick in this year’s draft.
I think the reactions from you, the readers, and the majority of Sens fans on social media, tell the story on this one.
This is one of the reasons that I hate the “Ottawa is a bad market” crowd, you guys love this team, and you’re not afraid to show it. While I want to stay away from a lot of the Dorion-bashing, because I think he’s done a decent job of late, I’m with you here.
The Senators didn’t get enough for Dylan DeMelo. Not even close. I realize that a guy who has 64 career points to his name isn’t likely to get teams to sell the farm to obtain his services, but it’s no secret who Dylan DeMelo is anymore. D.J. Smith referred to him as one of the league’s most underrated players just a couple months ago, so I struggle to understand how the Senators undervalued him this much.
It was reported that the Sens and DeMelo were far apart in terms of contract negotiations, and that the team never extended a formal contract offer to his camp. While that’s not great to hear in and of itself, it wasn’t long after that the heavens opened up, and utter chaos was unleashed unto this Earth.
On top of what @PierreVLeBrun already reported.— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) February 18, 2020
I spoke to DeMelo's agent Brian MacDonald this morning, and after the trade. He said no money or term was ever discussed, and that his client wanted to stay in Ottawa.
Dorion didn't want to comment.
San Jose retains 50% of Dillon's salary. https://t.co/VYgI156wPp— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 18, 2020
The Canadiens have acquired St. Louis’ second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2021), in exchange for defenseman Marco Scandella.#GoHabsGohttps://t.co/7ZqALTfebc— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) February 18, 2020
God help me. Okay, let’s try to work through this.
- I trust Simmer — even though he has me blocked on Twitter —and I believe that DeMelo’s agent said this. I don’t think that Dorion would have remained hushed were it not true, so right away, I have an issue with that. If you don’t want to give DeMelo what he’s asking, fine, but at least negotiate and submit SOME KIND of offer before firing him into the sun (snow), especially if he wanted to stay in Ottawa. This isn’t exactly a hotbed for free agents.
- Dillon, in my opinion, is marginally better than DeMelo. He’s bigger, more physical, and has more experience in shutdown situations. That said, there is no way in hell that the Sharks should have gotten that much more than Pierre Dorion did for DeMelo. If Ottawa had gotten a 2nd rather than a 3rd, we’d be having a different conversation, but it’s crazy to me to get that much less.
- Oh, hit me with a bus. The Habs picked Scandella up for a fourth not long ago, and now got more than double in return. Scandella has two more points on the year than DeMelo.
As the afternoon goes on, I’ve been doing my best to process everything, and really come up with the words to describe my thoughts on the nine million things that have happened today. In the end, one word comes to mind:
In terms of player movement, this is a vital year for the Ottawa Senators. They have a lot of players that won’t be in a position to come back next season, and as such, Pierre Dorion needs to make the most of every move. He didn’t today. Dylan DeMelo is easily a Top-3 defenceman on this team; putting aside the seemingly obvious fact that he should have been re-signed, a third round pick is a return that has become embarrassingly inadequate by comparison.
The Senators can’t have this. If not from a hockey perspective, then from a PR standpoint. The sour taste of the Mike Hoffman - Mikkel Boedker swap still lingers in the collective mouth of Sens fans, so to have another day where the team comes out looking the loser is just crushing for a fanbase that’s had so much optimism this season.
The question that now remains to be answered is how this will affect the rest of the moves the team needs to make. Now that the word is out that Pierre Dorion can be low-balled, opposing GMs likely know that there is blood in the water. Will they shell out a 2nd round pick or more for J.G. Pageau, now that they know they can turn up the heat and make Pierre panic? Will Ottawa assets be flipped for better returns again?
The bottom line is that the trade of Dylan DeMelo is a critical blow to the already fragile-at-best confidence that the fans have in management. People wanted Dylan DeMelo here, apparently Dylan DeMelo wanted to be here, and now he’s not. Were that not bad enough, the team once again comes out looking like they’re playing checkers while the others play chess.
The Ottawa Senators cannot have days like this. With at least a few more assets likely to be on the move, let’s hope it’s not the beginning of something really bleak. This fanbase needs some hope.