The Ottawa Senators have signed defenseman Ron Hainsey to a one-year, $3.5 million contract and forward Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $800,000 contract.
The two former Toronto Maple Leafs are joining Nikita Zaitsev and Connor Brown, both of whom were traded to the Senators in a six-player deal earlier today.
General manager Pierre Dorion said earlier in the offseason that his club was looking to add two veterans to his team and they got that in the 38-year-old Hainsey and 29-year-old Ennis. (From: “Free agency: Senators might be interested in adding a veteran defenceman” – Ottawa Citizen – June 29, 2019).
Hainsey has had a 16-year NHL career and brings a wealth of experience to this young Senators group. He has 1,068 games played, scoring 58 goals and 299 points. He also helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2017. The defender has spent the last two seasons with the Maple Leafs, collecting nine goals and 46 points with an impressive plus-42 rating. The Senators, who were last in the league in goals against (301), will appreciate his defensive ability.
Speedy Ennis has 10 years of NHL experience, playing in 543 games, recording 117 goals and 276 points. He spent last season with the Maple Leafs, adding 12 goals and 18 points to his resume. Ennis is a three-time 20 goal, 40 point player, although the last time that happened was in the 2014-15 season.
With the numerous former Maple Leafs being added to the Senators, it seems that Ottawa’s new head coach, DJ Smith, has the ear of Dorion. Smith, the former assistant coach in Toronto, seems to be a key piece in the Senators targeting some of his former players. Seeing that the general manager trusts his new coach this much shows that there is already a strong relationship there.
There is a new culture coming to the Senators, and it seems to be heavily influenced by their inter-province rivals.
Senators Putting Prospects First with Hainsey, Ennis Signings
There are two ways that the Hainsey and Ennis signings help the Senators prospects and young players. First, for the youth on the team, the two newcomers provide a wealth of knowledge. The younger Senators can pick their brains as they adjust to becoming full-time NHLers.
The second is that the two new additions will take two spots in the lineup. While many Senators fans may want to see their prospects on the NHL roster, keeping them on what looks like a very competitive AHL team in the Belleville Senators will be much better for their development.
The players in Belleville should have a good season. They had a strong push for the playoffs at the end of the year and will look to continue that in 2019-20. To get some success and wins under their belts will be great for their confidence. This is instead of playing in Ottawa, where the team isn’t expected to be extremely successful.
With both players one-year deals, it also makes them valuable trade chips for the NHL Trade Deadline. They should play meaningful minutes with the Senators and be worth a good return for a playoff-bound team.
Statitistics from Hockey-Reference.com
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.