Penguins’ 2022-23 Trade Targets: Ottawa Senators

Welcome to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2022-23 Trade Targets series, where I will examine trade targets from around the NHL. From blockbuster deals to minor upgrades, no stone will be left unturned, and we’ll be sure to have some fun along the way. General manager (GM) Ron Hextall has been working the phones of late, trying to find a trade partner, and for today’s segment let’s head north to the capital of Canada and zone in on the Ottawa Senators.

The Senators were expected to have a big season after a very busy summer; however, as they say, you can’t win games on paper. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to string together wins and they sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference. If the losses continue to pile up, expect to see them make some moves, with the Penguins ready, willing, and able once the fire sale begins.

Here are three trade targets out of Ottawa for Hextall and company:

Tyler Motte

A rugged bottom-six forward who plays with an edge, Tyler Motte is the perfect target for the Penguins, who are trying to get tougher to play against. He is a reasonably cheap option at $1.35 million against the cap and there’s no commitment after this season as he’s a pending free agent.

Tyler Motte Ottawa Senators
Tyler Motte, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

At 27, Motte is someone the Penguins could bring in on an audition and then lock up long-term. He’s having a good season on a bad team as he’s collected seven points in 20 games and has been playing 3:45 per game killing penalties. He leads all Sens forwards in this category.

Related: Pittsburgh Penguins GM Looking to Make a Trade

Motte isn’t afraid to mix it up and take the body as he’s delivered 43 hits and blocked 16 shots. He plays mostly at left wing however has some experience filling in at center, which could go a long way for the Penguins. Motte’s versatility should be appealing for the hockey club.

Motte is a player the Penguins are familiar with from their Stanley Cup series against the New York Rangers last season, so it will be curious to see how much trade interest they have before the deadline. He’s a rental so the acquisition cost shouldn’t be considerable and Hextall and company should keep their eyes on the Senators’ forward.

Derick Brassard

Another bottom-six forward who could help the Penguins would be Senators’ veteran Derick Brassard. He’s a familiar face as he spent parts of two seasons with the hockey club, including appearing in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games back in 2017-18.

Derick Brassard, Evgeni Malkin, Niklas Kronwall
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Derick Brassard had four points in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2017-18 (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Since departing from the Penguins in 2018-19 after 40 games, Brassard has dressed for seven other teams. This season the 35-year-old has dressed for 14 games with the Senators and has recorded six points.

Brassard is versatile, he can play center or either wing. He’s winning 47% of his faceoffs and is playing second power-play and penalty-kill minutes in Ottawa this season. The reason why so many teams have had interest throughout the years is the fact he can play all over the lineup and in any situation.

Brassard is a Swiss Army knife and someone who could play a key role down the stretch for the Penguins. At his age, with an expiring contract of only $750,000 against the cap and mediocre production, the acquisition cost will be minimal for Hextall and the Pens. Certainly, another trade target that could make some sense for their bottom six.

Austin Watson

Noticing a theme yet? The Senators have a slew of checking forwards who kill penalties and could be beneficial to the Penguins. Auston Watson is another. The 6-foot-4 30-year-old is another expiring contract who doesn’t hold any trade protection and could be moved at will.

Austin Watson Ottawa Senators
Austin Watson, Ottawa Senators (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Don’t expect much offensively out of Watson; however, he’s someone who plays the game hard and loves to mix it up in the dirty areas of the ice. He is also a great skater who kills penalties and bangs and crashes on any fourth line he’s been a part of.

So far this season, Watson has recorded three points in 20 games. He’s seeing less than 10 minutes of ice time a night, however he is a regular penalty killer for the Senators. Meanwhile, even with the limited minutes, he ranks second on the team with 52 hits, only one behind team leader Brady Tkachuk. Another cheap forward who loves to mix it up and plays hard, Watson would bring some much-needed toughness to the Penguins’ lineup.

The Penguins and Senators are two teams to watch as they do align as trade partners. Pittsburgh has Kasperi Kapanen, who has been subject to several trade rumors and is someone the Senators could have interest in going the other way. Meanwhile, the Penguins could use one of Watson, Motte or Brassard in their lineup. For now, the waiting game continues as Hextall works the phones to get a sense of the trade market across the NHL.