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Senators Trade Chips: Who might be dealt before the deadline?

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The trade deadline is on April 12th: who could be on the move from the Senators?

Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL trade deadline is just 12 days away on April 12th and the Senators have the potential to sell off a few players for the fourth season in a row. 2021 will be much different than the previous three seasons though, so that is great for our psyche.

Nevertheless, I thought it would be good to go over who could potentially be moved and for what kind of return. Despite one minor deal already being completed, it is much more underwhelming than in previous years, but there are still some things to watch out for. I’ve grouped seven players into three categories, “wildcard,” “less likely,” and “keep an eye on.” Without further ado, here are the names that could be talked about and/or moved before 3 pm eastern on April 12th:

Wildcard (1): Logan Brown

Logan Brown, $863,333 AAV (RFA)

Potential return: Mid-round pick or struggling prospect

Considering Brown has been injured recently (what else is new?), I can’t imagine Ottawa would trade him at his lowest value. Then again, perhaps they just want to cut ties at this point. I’ve been on the “give Brown a chance” train for a long time, although even I have to admit that his inability to stay healthy is making it impossible. I’m sure Pierre Dorion still wants to give him a chance in the NHL, which doesn’t line up well for being dealt before the deadline.

If he does get moved though, I can’t imagine anything more than a 3rd round pick or a similarly struggling prospect in return. It’s too bad that it’s coming to this.

Less Likely (2): Artem Anisimov, Braydon Coburn

Artem Anisimov, $4.55M AAV (UFA)

Potential return: Late-round pick

Anisimov went unclaimed on waivers on Monday, so we already know his value is minuscule. He has only suited up for 14 games so far as he has essentially been this year’s Mikkel Boedker. He’s only 32 and has a fair amount of experience though, so a team may want to bring him on (at a reduced salary) for a 6th or 7th round pick so that they can send him to the taxi squad without placing him on waivers. I wouldn’t count on it, but there is always a strange deal like this at the deadline.

Braydon Coburn, $1.7M AAV (UFA)

Potential return: Late-round pick

I could pretty much copy and paste most of what was said for Anisimov here, although Coburn’s smaller cap hit is easier for contenders. He’s coming off of a Stanley Cup championship, so perhaps other teams will like that as much as Ottawa did. At this stage in his career, he isn’t very effective and therefore probably won’t be garnering more than a 6th round pick.

Keep an Eye on (4): Ryan Dzingel, Mike Reilly, Erik Gudbranson, Chris Tierney

Ryan Dzingel, $3.375M AAV (UFA)

Potential return: 2nd or 3rd round pick

Dzingel has been a fan favourite since returning to Ottawa, as he has 5 goals and 1 assist in 11 games. I don’t think that goal scoring will last, but you could do a lot worse than him in your bottom-six if they want to re-sign him. He probably won’t cost as much as his current contract, but Ottawa still might want to sell high on him (again). He was essentially dumped here by Carolina so he might not be able to get too much at the deadline, but a team might be willing to pay as much as a 2nd round pick for him.

That could be wishful thinking, but I think a 4th at worst seems plausible. It remains to be seen if he is a part of their plans for next season though.

Mike Reilly, $1.5M AAV (UFA)

Potential return: 2nd or 3rd round pick

Reilly is a fascinating case, and last week, nkb talked about what the Senators could do with him. The Senators might want to re-sign him, but as is the case with every pending free agent, he could be asking for more than Ottawa is willing to pay. In that case, he’d be one of the better rentals on the market:

It doesn’t seem like he’s being talked up very much as a high-ticket item though, so I wouldn’t expect more than a 2nd round pick for him, if that. He was acquired for just a 5th round pick from Montreal last year, and that was after he cleared waivers. He’s definitely been much better this season though, so hopefully teams have noticed. Just like with Dzingel, it remains to be seen what the Senators want to do with him.

Erik Gudbranson, $4.0M AAV (UFA)

Potential return: Mid-round pick

Gudbranson was acquired for a 5th round pick from Anaheim, so I could see a similar return for him. He gets a lot of respect around the league, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a contender go after him for a depth role. His previous trade from Pittsburgh to Anaheim was for Andreas Martinsen and a 7th, so they might not get as high as a 5th round pick. He’s a UFA at the end of the season, but perhaps they want to bring him back instead.

Chris Tierney, $3.5M AAV (1 year left)

Potential return: 2nd or 3rd round pick

Tierney’s return is difficult to pin down. He had 48 points in 2018-19 and was on pace for 43 last year, but he’s only on pace for 32 this season and has been a hindrance defensively. So he hasn’t really done much and is quite redundant on this team, especially once Shane Pinto comes into the mix. I could imagine a team looking at previous point totals and wanting to pay with a 2nd round pick since he has one year left at $3.5M, but I could also envision a scenario where they have to settle for a 4th round pick for a player who hasn’t made an impact this season.

In an earlier version of this article, I said that Tierney is only one of two forwards (along with Watson) who fits the forward exposure requirements in the expansion draft, so a trade was more likely in the off-season. However, as has been pointed out, Amadio actually fits the exposure requirements as well, so they could still trade Tierney and then have Watson and Amadio as their two “veteran” NHLers eligible to be taken by Seattle.

Although none of these players will give the Senators much of a return compared to the previous three deadlines, I’d love to see Ottawa grab a few more lottery tickets. The 2021 draft is unprecedented, and due to the lack of games, there are going to be lots of hidden gems outside of the first round or two. There are always late risers in the second half of the season, but 2021 has some people playing fewer than 30 games, which is only about half of a normal season.

To show you how extreme things can be, Seth Jarvis had 35 points in his first 32 games and was expected to be a 2nd round pick, yet he went on to score 63 points in his final 26 games, was eventually taken 13th overall and is now one of the best prospects in the league. Of course, there’s no guarantee Ottawa would get a star prospect later in the 2021 draft, but the odds are higher compared to normal years. Yes, most teams will have a good feel for players from past seasons, but a lot of the draft is just throwing darts at the board in a non-COVID year. The Senators have just 6 picks this year (1, 2, 2, 3, 6, 7), and you can never have too many of them.

At the end of the day, I don’t expect Dorion to make more than 1-2 deals (if that), so this year could be much different than before.