Senators' Trade Deadline Move Elicits Mixed Reactions

Analysts either liked or didn't like the GM's latest move

Senators' Trade Deadline Move Elicits Mixed Reactions
Photo by Peter van der Meulen / Unsplash

(Author's note: This piece is a satirical work of fiction. Any references that bear resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is unintentional. Unless you think I'm referring to you, in which case, I totally am.)

The Ottawa Senators' most recent move made some fans and analysts happy, but others aren't so sure. It could be a shrewd piece of decision-making, or could be a disaster-in-the-making, depending on whose opinion you look for. GM Steve Staios stayed tight-lipped on the move, merely suggesting that the team is further shaping up how he and Dave Poulin would like. He argued that the move makes the Sens better in the short-, medium-, and long-terms. He stated that the team will obviously miss what was traded, but believe the return is exactly what they were after.

Some in the Sens community were big fans of the move. A long-time Sens reporter explained that this was a home-run move by Staios. In that reporter's opinion, there are virtually no downsides to the move, and this will only help the Sens in moving towards becoming the NHL's next dynasty. More measured in their response, a Sens writer at a New York Times-owned sports-coverage website said that this had the possibility to be a positive move. They encouraged fans to keep their metaphorical pitchforks in their metaphorical closets, and instead recognize that moves don't have to be (St)über-wins or mega-losses, that they can instead be slight positives with decent upside.

On the other hand, some ex-players-turned-analysts were uncertain about the move. They said they saw the appeal, but also worried about how this would affect the dressing room culture. They cited the "excellent" job that captain Brady Tkachu(n)k has done in building the team's character, and claimed that it likely was impossible for a single move to undo the buy-in of the entire dressing room, but then also talked for 27 minutes about how this one move could definitely undo the team's identity. "This team is all about getting pucks in deep, forechecking, getting to the greasy areas, forechecking, forcing turnovers, and forechecking," said one. "Does this help them do that better? Not really, except for if it does. Man, this team could really use a Nick Paul-type, eh?" A former television reporter who now independently covers the team then emphasized that, whether or not people liked the move, this was definitely a better move than would have been made by the previous GM.

Over on Twitter—sorry, I mean X—fans were split. Comments on the press release from the official @Senators account varied from, "HUGE W 4 Wttawa Wenators" to "thiss ucks, fire everyoen". A couple of noted stats accounts were disapproving of the move, citing the likely decline in performance that their models projected over the next few years. Naturally, most Twitter users—sorry, Xers—were unhappy with the numbers, accusing the accounts of having anti-Sens bias, telling them to "shut up, nerd", to "watch the games, idiot", and to place the numbers in a place that, at time of publication, is physically impossible with virtual numbers. Others complained that former GM Pierre Dorion never got his due for the moves that set up this team, a list which includes the drafting and trading away of Mark Stone; the acquisition and subsequent trade of Alex DeBrincat; the trade of Derrick Brassard to acquire prospect goaltender Filip Gustavsson, only to trade Gustavsson for veteran goalie Cam Talbot when Brassard returned to Ottawa, followed by letting Talbot leave as a UFA to become an all-star in Los Angeles; and wishing that he could adopt defenceman Tyler Kleven as his son.

Even on the stellar Sens blog Silver Seven, home of the murderously good-looking writer Ross A, commenters were unsure how to feel. Some said this was the move they'd been hoping the team would make, while others were less positive, asking if there really weren't other options available. Meanwhile, on Reddit, one fan suggested that, instead of this move, the Sens should have put together a package of Lassi Thomson, Tyler Boucher, and a 2031 2nd-round pick for Connor McDavid and/or Leon Draisaitl.

Unfortunately, the national media have yet to provide much analysis for hockey-hungry Sens fans. On TSN, the move was acknowledged for 9.3 seconds, after which the hockey panel spent 17 minutes discussing how this affected the Maple Leafs' Cup chances. When asked for their take, the response from Sportsnet, via a PR rep, was, "Please provide proof that a team called the Otawa Senaters [sic] exists."

Overall, it is indisputably clear that the value of this move is murkily unclear. It will remain to be seen if management can deftly fit this move in with the current roster, along with upcoming draft picks and free agent signings. This will either help the Sens make the playoffs next season or hinder their development. The best time to evaluate this move will be in the next 1 to 12 years, when we can see holistically how much it helped the Sens. Make sure to subscribe to Silver Seven for more exclusive hard-hitting analysis.

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