After weeks of speculation, the team has finally made the announcement: we’re getting our right-shot defender for next season (whenever that may be).
Much like Ottawa’s signing of Olle Alsing, look at this as the team playing with house money. Zub comes as something of a wild card who may break camp and make the NHL squad, and because of Ottawa’s lack of depth down the right, he may not block any prospects in so doing. Otherwise, Belleville can always use another defender if one of the Senators’ core prospects graduates next season.
A lot of skepticism around Zub comes from his elevated shooting percentage this season and his low-hanging-fruit stats (goals, assisits, and plus/minus) impressing NHL scouts. While we can always bank on some regression from players with aberrational counting stats, the Senators are, as I said, playing with house money and don’t have anything to lose. It’s a one-year entry-level contract with a $925K cap hit, and Zub would not need to clear waivers if ever Ottawa sent him down to Belleville.
If you want to spin this signing in a more optimistic way, just enjoy the novelty. We’re entering the unknown. We have no expectations of the team this year in terms of playoffs and this intrigues me a lot more than the Sens signing, say, Roman Polak or Yannick Weber to fill out the roster. If Zub turns out to defend competently then Ottawa got a free player and if he can’t keep his head above water then Ottawa’s off the hook the following year. At age-24, Zub still has room to grow and become an NHLer if he has the tools.
Also, Zub means tooth in Russian. Let’s get this right, folks!
It's ZOOB, which is the Russian word for "tooth."— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) May 1, 2020
Also, it's "art-YOME", not "ART-em"