Before the COVID pause, the Ottawa Senators were on a roll, winning five of their last eight games, highlighted by their defeat of the powerhouse Florida Panthers by six goals. While they seem to be turning their season around, they still lack centre depth. Even if one of their injured centremen returns, they could still use some help up the middle.
Luckily enough, there are four interesting names around the league who have either underperformed this year or are undervalued for some reason or another. Furthermore, the Senators have the cap space and prospects to make a move that could improve their squad long-term. Let’s see how these players could help Ottawa up the middle.
While the Calgary Flames sit in third in the Pacific division, they’ve lost four straight. This might put them in a position to make a move soon to stop the bleeding. One player who might end up being available is Sean Monahan, who has been a mainstay on their top line for years. This season, however, he’s been demoted to the third line, sitting between Milan Lucic and Dillon Dube.
The demotion could signal the perfect time for the Senators to strike a deal. Monahan has proven in the past that he is a reliable two-way centreman with some scoring pop, proving it with his career-high 82 points in 2018-19. Since then, he has been a shell of himself and has only put up 13 points this season.
Monahan sounds like a perfect candidate for a change of scenery. He could slot in as the second-line centre, pushing Tim Stützle to wing, giving Stützle a reliable pivot, and a longer leash to attack offensively.
Still only 29 years old, Tyler Seguin has seemingly been in the league forever. Drafted second overall in 2010, he has been a top-line scorer for years, scoring near or above a point-per-game for half of his seasons in the league.
Now on the second line for the short-on-scoring Dallas Stars, he’s only mustered 12 points all season. While he’s had some injury trouble in recent years, he’s nowhere near retirement, and likely has some great hockey ahead of him. Again, this might be a great time to make a move for the talented centreman and bring him back to his home province. He would be a great asset on the second line and top power-play unit.
Two seasons removed from their Stanley Cup-winning season, the St. Louis Blues aren’t quite the powerhouse they were in past years. The loss of Alex Pietrangelo in free agency has left a big hole in their production from the back end, and Torey Krug simply hasn’t done enough and doesn’t bring much else aside from offense.
The Blues might be in a position to move their plethora of centremen, which include Ryan O’Reilly, Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, Ivan Barbashev, Brayden Schenn, Tyler Bozak, and newly acquired, Logan Brown. That’s a busy depth chart, to say the least.
Barbashev might be the best of the lot to acquire due to his relatively young age of 26, his relatively low value, and his quality point production this season. He has 25 points in 31 games but hasn’t yet eclipsed the 26-point mark in his NHL career. This might push the Blues to move him while his value is peaking. The Senators would be smart to acquire him while he’s playing well, and due to the Blues’ need for defensemen, they could find a way to make a deal that benefits both sides.
Originally from Arizona, the hulking six-foot-seven, Tage Thompson, has been a reliable player for the depleted Buffalo Sabres this season. While he’s only scored a modest 18 points this year, he sits tied for second in team scoring and brings a physical element to his game that could prove to be valuable for the Senators up the middle.
He just turned 24 years old, and with some quality linemates like Stützle and Brown, he could end up being a huge asset for years to come. The Sabres could be in the market for a number of positions, as they lack depth almost everywhere in their lineup, so there would be a few angles the Senators could take to acquire his services.
Andrew Copp (WPG), Christian Dvorak (MTL), Morgan Frost (PHI), Barrett Hayton (ARI), Thomas Hertl (SJS), Boone Jenner (CBJ), Tyson Jost (COL), Scott Laughton (PHI), Casey Mittlestadt (BUF), Jack Roslovic (CBJ), Dylan Strome (CHI).
While none of these players is guaranteed to be on the move, they are certainly among the top names for the Senators to keep their eye on in the near future.
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Writer and hockey addict from the GTA, covering the Ottawa Senators. Leafs fan from birth, moved to BC to explore the mountains and find the strength to keep cheering. Love talking prospects, potential, and coaching strategies.