Analysis: Senators Trade Chychrun to Capitals for Jensen + 2026 3rd

The Sens got their right-handed defenseman

Analysis: Senators Trade Chychrun to Capitals for Jensen + 2026 3rd
Photo by Cytonn Photography / Unsplash

At first glance, it seems like Ottawa's getting a raw deal here, and considering what former GM Pierre Dorion gave up to acquire Jakob Chychrun, yeah, that's definitely the case.

That being said, sometimes you have to sacrifice value when you're desperate to address a specific need. Steve Staios crushed the Linus Ullmark trade because the Boston Bruins were desperate to clear salary and a roster space, in order to make several additions today. With the acquisition of Nick Jensen and a 2026 3rd-round pick from the Washington Capitals, Staios loses out on value because he was desperate for some adequacy on the right side of Ottawa's blueline, and couldn't acquire said adequacy without moving on from Chychrun.

Since moving Dylan DeMelo in 2020, the Senators had done a terrible job of acquiring defensemen to play with the offensively-minded Thomas Chabot. Artem Zub has been great, but it was only a lateral move with the DeMelo trade. Also, with Jake Sanderson's asendancy, the need to fit a DeMelo/Zub clone had intensified.

Jensen, 33, is signed through the 2025-26 season with a $4M cap hit. Can he provide some stability on the blueline? Had he been acquired a few years ago, I'd say definitely. Now? I'd still say yes but with a bit more uncertainty.

His biggest draws have been his incredible penalty differential and ability to prevent quality scoring chances. While the former hasn't changed, the latter wasn't great this past season. The Capitals allowed more or less the same number of expected goals with Jensen as opposed to without but had significantly positive impacts in each of the previous three seasons.

So, is last season's sizable downturn a reflection of age-based decline, or was it just a blip? A lot of how the Sens' season shakes out next year might depend on Jensen rediscovering his form from earlier in his career.

His two most common partners on defence last season were Rasmus Sandin and Joel Edmundson. Per NaturalStatTrick, The Sandin-Jensen pair posted an abysmal 42.13% expected goals share at 5-on-5, and both performed better away from each other. With a 47.52 xGF%, Edmundson-Jensen performed much better, with Edmundson struggling more when the two were apart. Still, even 47.52 xGF% isn't great. There's not much good to say about last season from Jensen's perspective, Staios (and Sens fans in general!) are banking on a change of scenery bringing renewed vigour.

With Jake Sanderson and Artem Zub handling the toughest matchups, Jensen could return to form by establishing a partnership with Chabot, whose success has been dictated by the quality of his partner. Let's be real: the bar for Jensen isn't very high. He's been good enough in the past that I'm intrigued to see how he fares with a legitimate offensive defenseman. It's not a home run, but it could work. That's an improvement on the right side in recent years.

Welcome to Ottawa, Nick!

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