In my last post I discussed the possible benefits of trading away Cam Talbot before the deadline. Today I’ll explore other possible trade candidates the senators might consider trading away before the trade deadline, and what they might expect to get in return.
First off, I suggested that the possible for return for Talbot would be a late 2nd or 3rd, but the more I think about it, the more unlikely I think we can get a 2nd for Talbot, unless maybe we include a later pick going the other way. Furthermore I don’t think, outside of Seattle and possibly Vegas, that any playoff bound teams are looking to shore up their goaltending. Injuries happen, and there’s lots of time until the trade deadline, but the sens aren’t the only team that will miss the playoffs who can offer contenders a goalie. If we can get a 3rd rounder for Talbot we should take it. If we can give up a later pick to upgrade that pick to a 2nd we should also take it.
So who on our defense core can we, or should we, trade before the deadline? Let’s start with the obvious ones; the UFA’s.
-Travis Hamonic; The chances we sign Hamonic to an extension are fairly slim. He would probably return at a considerable pay cut if he did return. I’m thinking something along the lines of 1.5M-2M. Considering we (surprisingly) gave up a 3rd round pick to acquire Hamonic last deadline when our hopes of making the playoffs were long gone, I think we should try to recoup something for him. The best we could probably get is a 5th, and we should take what we can get.
-Nick Holden; The chances we sign Holden to an extension are even slimmer. If he did return it would strictly be as a depth defenseman for around 1M. Holden is on the wrong side of 35, is already on the bottom pair, and has seen the press box several times as a healthy scratch. I could see Nick Holden returning in a front office role. Perhaps as a conditioning coach or something to that effect. If Holden can get a new contract with another team, I’m sure he’ll do it in a heartbeat. It’s doubtful we could get much, if anything, in a deadline deal for him. Maybe a late round pick at best…then again, they did manage to swindle someone into trading for Josh Brown, so anything is possible.
- Nikita Zaitsev; Every fan’s favorite whipping boy, before he was injured, Zaitsev was actually playing better since his demotion and subsequent recall from the b-sens. That doesn’t mean any team would be willing to absorb his 4.5M cap hit without a serious sweetener. Buying out Zaitsev in the summer isn’t an option because he has a big signing bonus. Maybe the sens can use Formenton as that sweetener and kill two problematic birds with one stone…probably wishful thinking.
Which brings me to the RFAs
-JBD; I know that to most sens fans trading JBD right now when he’s on the cusp of becoming a regular in the lineup is sacrilege, but hear me out. Can you see JBD as a top4 D playing as a partner for Sanderson or Chabot? He has looked decent in limited time beside Chabot, and the idea of reuniting UND alumni Bernard-Docker with his old UND teammate Sanderson sounds great for the vibes alone. The question is, can the two youngsters cut it as a 2nd pair in the NHL. My answer is unfortunately no. I believe JBD is a capable 3rd pair guy who can kill penalties and contribute 14-16mins a night, and that’s all he’ll ever be. I hope I’m wrong, but with limited offensive upside, I just can’t see him filling the RD2 role, and I have higher hopes for Lassi or Guenette to be that guy. Better yet, why not trade JBD as part of a package to land a legitimate RD2. Is it that crazy? We have lots of options for 3rd pair guys…which brings me to my next player…
Erik Branstrom; Branny just hasn’t lived up to expectations since being the major piece coming back in the Mark Stone trade. He has played much better defensively this year, but for a guy who’s supposedly an offensive defenseman, to have barely any points and ZERO goals in god-know-how-long, when do we throw in the towel. Branny is forced into being a 3rd pair guy behind Chabot and Sandy, so I just don’t know how he fits here anymore. Again, I hope I’m wrong, but he could also be a good trade piece in landing a legit RD2. The big problem is, who replaces him? The aforementioned over-the-hill Holden? The still-completely-unproven Tyler Kleven? Perhaps Jacob Chychrun? Our system is pretty thin, but there are lots of cheap 3rd pair LD available in free agency.
Let’s face it, several of these guys won’t be returning to the sens next season, and the time to decide who we can get a good return for is now.