The Detroit Red Wings have traded veteran forward Steve Ott to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2018, the Red Wings announced early Wednesday morning. The team held him out of their lineup Tuesday night against the Vancouver Canucks as a precaution, and he now finds himself going from a team sitting in last place in the East to a secure spot in the playoff race on a Canadiens team sitting in first place in the Atlantic Division.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 1, 2017
Ott has played in 42 games this season with the Red Wings, scoring three goals and six points while accumulating 63 penalty minutes. A former first-round draft pick, Ott has always been known as one of the premier agitators in the league. He was originally selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars and spent seven seasons with the Stars before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres ahead of the 2012-13 season. Ott went on to play with the Sabres for a season and a half, being moved to the St. Louis Blues at the 2014 trade deadline in a deal that also sent goaltender Ryan Miller to the Blues in the process.
Through 837 career NHL games, Ott has scored 109 goals and 287 points. His best season came during the 2008-09 season while playing with the Stars when he scored 19 goals and 46 points in 64 games to go along with 135 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating. Between the 2007-08 and 2011-12 seasons, Ott recorded a minimum of 135 penalty minutes in each season, accumulating 183 in 2011-11. He’s recorded 1,538 penalty minutes in his 837 career games, which don’t include his AHL penalty minutes. If nothing else, Ott will bring a legitimate level of grit and experience to a Canadiens lineup that is loading up for a long playoff push.
Red Wings in Unknown Territory
Ott brings experience to a Canadiens lineup looking to solidify their team for a playoff push. Ott has appeared in 55 playoff games, including three consecutive seasons of postseason play with the Blues prior to this season. Ironically, it’s with the Detroit Red Wings that Ott is at risk of missing the postseason for the first time since 2012. The Red Wings have made the playoffs in each of the last 25 seasons, but the team has faltered this season and is on the outside looking in on a very crowded Atlantic Division playoff race.
After losing Pavel Datsyuk in the offseason to the KHL, the Red Wings haven’t been able to find their identity this season. Key pieces from past seasons have regressed, and it’s resulted in the Red wings sitting in last placed in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Carolina Hurricanes. With the team likely to miss the postseason for the first time in a quarter-century, it was time for the team to change their direction. This involved moving Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers Tuesday and followed suit by moving Ott, who is also a pending unrestricted free agent, to the Canadiens Tuesday night.
Canadiens Going All-In
For the Canadiens, the moves are starting to add up. The team has made a trade on three consecutive days, with the first being the trade that sent Jordie Benn to Montreal for Greg Pateryn. The second trade came Tuesday when the Canadiens sent David Desharnais to the Edmonton Oilers to acquire defenseman Brandon Davidson. The third, of course, came early on Wednesday morning with the Canadiens acquiring the veteran Ott from the Red Wings.
As the rest of the Atlantic Division gears up for the hunt for the playoffs, the Canadiens are looking to create separation between themselves and the rest of the pack.
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Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.