Ottawa sends Zaitsev to Chicago

Ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline, the Ottawa Senators have moved Nikita Zaitsev, a 2023 second round pick and a 2026 fourth round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations.

Nikita Zaitsev is on his way to Chicago.

It’s been rumoured for weeks months years that the Ottawa Senators were looking to move Zaitsev’s salary off the books and today it finally came to fruition. As expected, General Manager Pierre Dorion had to attach a 2023 second round pick and add a fourth in 2026 on top to get the Blackhawks to bite but the team has now freed up a large cap hit from a player who wasn’t playing.

For Zaitsev, this is an even more important move. In Ottawa, he was no longer a regular in the lineup. Given the state of Chicago’s roster, Zaitsev will certainly get ice time and may even have an opportunity to play big minutes depending on the rest of Chicago’s trade deadline plans.

For Ottawa, the timing of this move is interesting. By shipping out Zaitsev now, just over a week ahead of the trade deadline, the Senators have opened up an extra $4.5M of cap space. While most fans have already slid that money (and then some) into Alex DeBrincat’s  bank account, the curious piece is the timing. Does this mean Dorion may go shopping for a rental now that he has some space? Or perhaps the GM couldn’t get the green light to commit big money to Alex DeBrincat before being cerain that Zaitsev’s cap hit could get off the books? Finally, it’s entirely possible that today is the day Chicago finally said yes to the dress and that’s the one and only reason this deal happened so close to the trade deadline.

Needless to say, the next week and a half will be filled with speculation.

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