On Canada Day 2014, the Ottawa Senators franchise took quite the hit when they traded their star centre Jason Spezza. To say that folks were a bit underwhelmed by the package that came back from Dallas would be a bit of an understatement. We didn’t know at the time but it turns out, the most intriguing piece of that trade was a young player by the name of Nick Paul. He was 19 at the time of the trade, a third round pick from the Dallas Stars and largely not as shiny of a return as you’d expect for a player like Jason Spezza.
Fast forward to 2022, Nick Paul is due for a contract extension and the question of the Sens being able to retain him is now becoming a concern as the trade deadline approaches. For years Nick Paul was the guy from the Spezza trade, he was an acceptable depth player who had never quite lived up to the pressure placed on him.
When Ottawa entered their latest rebuild after the 2017-18 season, opportunities that had previously not been available for younger players like Paul suddenly presented themselves. The Sens had no choice but to promote from within as they were no longer able to attract and retain high caliber players. Many players benefitted from the added opportunities and the wide open spots but Paul, especially, flourished. He not only became a player that “fit in” the team, he became an integral part of what we’re hoping this team becomes in the long run. He’s not flashy, he’s not going to score every night, but he’s a player that can be relied upon and someone who has shown that he will comes up big when it counts.
Though Paul has become something of a fan favourite, it’s also true that he’s at best a depth player on a good team. Like Chris Kelly and JG Pageau before him, Paul is in that spot where it’s worth keeping him around but the question of price creeps into the picture.
Paul’s ceiling could be 30 points at best but he is an essential part of the penalty kill and a consistently responsible player defensively. When the Sens traded Kelly and Pageau, the timing was natural given that the team was entering a period of re building. This rebuild is supposedly coming to an end and you would think the Sens would like to start investing in the right players to keep the momentum going. That said, the chatter about his being available for trade continues and every day that passes we get a day closer to the trade deadline. If Paul isn’t signed by then, Pierre Dorion would be hard-pressed not to move for a trade.
So, we can argue aabout how much Paul’s next contract should be but let’s assume the Sens don’t want to pay Paul or simply don’t see a future for him in Ottawa, what would be a fair return for Nick Paul in a potential trade?
What are your expectations for a Nick Paul return in a trade?
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Late Second/Third Round Pick
Late First/ Early Second Round Pick
Solid Mid-First Round Pick
Bottom-6 Proven NHL Player
Combination of Pick and Prospect/NHL Player