The Ottawa Senators have kicked their trade deadline off with a bang...sort of. Just before Sunday’s match-up with the St.Louis Blues, the team announced they had traded Tyler Motte to the New York Rangers for Juien Gauthier and a conditional seventh round pick:
Trade announcement: The #Sens have acquired forward Julien Gauthier and a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2023 from the @NYRangers in exchange for forward Tyler Motte. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/rTXRCUWUH1— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 19, 2023
The condition on the pick is that it will be converted to the lower of the Rangers or Winnipeg Jets’ 6th round pick if the Rangers make it past the first round of this year’s play-offs.
For the Sens, trading Motte was always a strong possibility given that the veteran is a UFA at the end of the season. Here’s how Pierre Dorion described Gauthier: “[He] is a hard-working, good skating winger with a big body who routinely goes to the opponent’s net”
Gauthier’s a former first round pick who has never really established himself. In fact, to say he’s struggled would be a bit of an understatement but you don’t have to squint too hard to see what Dorion is thinking: a new situation could potentially invigorate a formerly highly ranked player. Gauthier’s main attribute is his size — and that hasn’t changed.
Could the Sens have done better for Motte? It’s hard to say what the market was; certainly it appears that the Rangers were very intent on brining Motte back into the fold after he helped them during their play-off run last year. If Dorion had decided to go the route of just a draft pick, it seems like a fourth, or maybe third, could have been had. Instead they get a conditional seventh and a reclamation project. Maybe Gauthier finds something in Ottawa that hasn’t been there so far in New York. Regardless, Motte was never going to fetch a king’s ransom. Dorion’s chosen to try to make something out of a more known quantity rather than the mystery box of a pick. We’ll see how that works out.