While the Ottawa Senators are still on something of a mini-break after their Monday afternoon loss to the Boston Bruins, the off-ice action for the Sens, and for the NHL more broadly, has not slowed down:
- When Pierre Dorion finally pulled the trigger on the Nikita Zaitsev trade yesterday, it felt like it had been a long time coming. Zaitsev was acquired when the team was in a different place, and it was no longer clear how he could contribute to a team attempting to make a push for the play-offs. Add in that his contract counted for $4.5M against the cap and it’s easy to understand why there have been rumours about the Sens trying to trade him for years. If Ottawa were really serious about making a play-off run this season, dealing Zaitsev last off-season would have been the move — but it also goes without saying that the price to do so would have been even steeper at the time. If it cost a second and a fourth now, with just more than one year left on his deal, it almost certainly would have cost at least a first last year. Maybe that price was particularly unpalatable to Dorion; I’d have to bite down really hard before trading a first just to unload a bad contract, too. Either way, the deed is done, and what’s of most interest is what comes next.
- Over at the Athletic, Shayna Goldman and Sean Gentille handed out their grades on the trade: an “A” for Chicago and a “B” for Ottawa. That seems about fair to me.
- Shea Weber’s contract, along with a 2023 fifth round pick, was traded from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Arizona Coyotes for Dysin Mayo. This mostly just makes me a bit sad: Weber is virtually guaranteed to never play another game, but his contract runs through 2025-26 so he can’t retire without forfeiting a big chunk of change. Instead, his contract is likely to just continue to be traded around the league between teams looking to pull off some cap shenanigans.
- Speaking of trades, Elliotte Friedman’s latest 32 Thoughts includes a check-in on every team at the deadline. Elliotte thinks the Sens remain committed to upgrading their blueline via trade. The Zaitsev deal could very well be the first step towards that type of transaction.
- The folks at ESPN have compiled a list of the top 10 centres in the leagues, as voted by ten players and ten front office staff. The names at the top likely won’t surprise you, but I’ll bet good money that if you ran this pool next year a certain German superstar might be making an appearance.
- Earlier in the week, they completed the same exercise for wingers. Again, no Senators but this time Brady Tkachuk does get an honourable mention.
- And last, but not least, Amalie Benjamin has a fun mailbag over at NHL.com that’s worth checking out.