At long last, the Ottawa Senators have made the trade that has felt inevitable for quite some time now and parted ways with Logan Brown. The Sens dealt the 11th overall pick from the 2016 draft to the St. Louis Blues, along with a conditional fourth round pick, in exchange for Zach Sanford.
Sanford’s played a third line role for the Blues since being acquired from the Washington Capitals, who drafted him in 2013. Sanford’s amassed 74 points in 209 career games to date and he was a part of the St. Louis team that won the Stanley Cup in 2018-19. Here’s what Pierre Dorion had to say about the acquisition:
“We expect Zach’s addition to prove beneficial for us in a number of ways,” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. “He’s a big man who skates well, a power forward who plays with energy and a former Stanley Cup winner. As someone who’s had a 16-goal season, he’s very capable of contributing offensively, too.”
Sanford, 26, is on a 1 year contract that will pay him $2M and will be a UFA at season’s end. Expect him to see time on Ottawa’s third or fourth lines.
As for Brown, the trade concludes what ultimately was a disappointing run for the once highly-touted prospect. Despite producing at a stellar pace in the AHL, he was never able to stay healthy enough, or improve enough defensively, to lock down a permanent spot on the NHL squad. There was some personal acrimony along the way, and by this off-season it became clear that Brown was highly unlikely to ever suit up for another NHL game in Ottawa. The condition of the Sens sending the fourth round pick to St. Louis is that Brown must play thirty games; a nice parting gift to try to help him get a real shot with his new team.
For the Sens, the bottom line is that they’ve turned a prospect that was no longer part of their future plans into a competent NHLer who will help this year. Sanford doesn’t pack the offensive potential that Brown was drafted for, but he’s a reliable defensive winger with a little bit of offensive pop. They’ve cashed a bit of potential for some more definitive benefit. At this stage, this type of trade was the only realistic outcome, and it’s better to get something than nothing. Ottawa no doubt will be happy just to have the whole thing done with. Still, when the Sens look back on what could have been with Brown there will be some regret. Hopefully there are some valuable lessons to be learned when it comes to prospect development.