This season’s trade deadline in Ottawa was a lot different than years past. Over the last handful of years, the Senators were accustomed to selling some of their big stars like Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, but this time was different. Instead, the Senators were more inclined to sell off some of their expiring contracts for more draft picks moving forward. Overall, it was a good day for the organization, and things got even better for some.
Connor Brown continued his hot streak and set a new franchise record with a goal in his eighth straight game, and it can still go higher. Brown has now surpassed Sens legends like Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza in regards to this streak. He now has more goals this season than John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, William Nylander, Artemi Panarin and the aforementioned Stone. Quite impressive, and the good news continued to pour in. Colin White returned from injury, and word on Matt Murray was that he would be back in the net later this week.
Item One: Ottawa Adds Draft Picks At the Deadline
After a couple of weeks with rumours and speculation as to what the Senators would do at the deadline, deals were finally made right up until the 3 p.m. deadline on Monday. It started with the first shoe to drop in Mike Reilly being traded to the Boston Bruins a few days before. The veteran defender was moved to Boston in exchange for a third-round draft pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. For a defenseman who played in just 70 games for Ottawa on an expiring deal, general manager Pierre Dorion was able to add another draft pick to the cupboard instead of letting him walk for nothing.
When the Senators traded for Reilly back in early 2020, they sent forward Andrew Sturtz and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to Montreal. Considering they were able to get back a higher draft pick one year later, I’d say the Senators did pretty well with this one. Dorion continues to show good asset management as the team continues to progress forward with their rebuild and admitted that Reilly was here to help until younger players were able to step into a bigger role.
The second shoe to drop was Braydon Coburn. Just four days after Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello went out and acquired forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils, he went and got the veteran defenseman from Ottawa to help stabilize depth at the backend for their expected playoff run. In return, the Senators were able to get a seventh-round draft pick in 2022.
Much like the Reilly trade earlier that day, Dorion was able to move out another expiring contract for draft capital. Coburn, who has played a measly 16 games with the Senators this season wasn’t expected to continue his tenure in Ottawa past this season anyway.
The final transaction and only deal that Dorion made on Monday was sending Erik Gudbranson to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2023 NHL entry draft and prospect defenseman Brandon Fortunato. The Ottawa-born defenseman must find it bitter-sweet to leave his hometown, but this gives him an opportunity to hopefully play in the playoffs with Nashville.
While the seventh-round pick won’t come to fruition until two years from now, Fortunato is someone who can step in whenever need be. He originally signed with the Predators as an NCAA free agent after his final season at Quinnipiac. This season, he has played nine games in the AHL with the Cleveland Monsters on loan and previously played in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades, where he recorded 21 points in 48 games. It’s unlikely that Fortunato will be able to make an impact at the NHL level with the Senators, but you never know how things can turn out.
Looking back at the last few days in regards to trades, the Senators were successful. They were able to move out three expiring deals and got draft picks in return while simultaneously making room for the younger players to take the reigns. When speaking with the media Monday afternoon, Dorion had said that all of their younger players have exceeded their expectations, taken huge steps as the season has gone on, which in turn gave him the confidence to make these deals.
Item Two: Ottawa Claims Mete off Waivers
A shocking turn of events early this week was the fact that the Montreal Canadiens had placed 22-year-old defenseman Victor Mete on waivers Sunday afternoon. The Senators were quick to react and scooped Mete off of waivers, and the best part is there’s no quarantine period needed for Mete to join the team. He is still very young and is just going to (hopefully) be another piece Ottawa gets to work with as they build their backend for the future.
With the trades of Reilly, Coburn, and Gudbranson, it was confirmed that the organization made these moves to make room for some of their younger d-men like Erik Brannstrom, newly signed Jacob Bernard-Docker and now Mete for more permanent roster spots. Mete drove down from Montreal early Monday morning when he found out that he was claimed by Ottawa and played later that night. He will wear No. 98 with the Senators and played 9:43 minutes in his first game with his new club against the Jets last night. In 186 career NHL games, he has a total of 34 points.
Item Three: Ottawa Signs Cody Goloubef to a One-Year, Two-Way Contract
The Senators have signed defenseman Cody Goloubef to a one-year, two-way prorated contract for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. The signing comes with an annual value of $700,000 in the NHL and $150,000 in the AHL. The 31-year-old returns to the organization after being acquired by them from Boston in exchange for Paul Carey back on Jan. 11, 2019.
Born in Mississauga, Ont., Goloubef was drafted 37th overall in the 2008 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets. In 160 NHL games with the Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche, Senators and Detroit Red Wings, he has recorded three goals, 22 assists for a total of 25 points and 76 penalty minutes to complement. Goloubef had signed a professional tryout contract with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators, ahead of this season, where he has recorded four points and 17 penalty minutes in 19 games.
Item Four: Senators Season Extended to May 12
The Senators’ season has been extended by a couple of days once again. Last time, it was because of the Canadiens and the COVID tracing protocols, but this time, it’s because of the fallout from the Vancouver Canucks’ outbreak. Luckily, the Canucks, the NHL, and the NHLPA were able to get the Canucks through health protocols and will be able to complete their season.
Here is the statement from the NHL released on April 10:
The National Hockey League announced today that, pending today’s test results, the Vancouver Canucks will re-open their facilities for practice on Sunday, April 11, with a return to gameplay on Friday, April 16 vs. Edmonton. The decision was made by the League’s, NHLPA’s and Club’s medical groups. A total of eight Canucks games have been postponed – March 31 through April 14. The League has rescheduled those games with the team’s 56-game schedule now ending on Sunday, May 16. The Canucks’ organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, provincial and federal agencies. The NHL will continue to assess the progression of the regular season before announcing definitive dates for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the newly revised end date for the regular season for the North Division, it is possible that the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the East, Central and West Divisions could open a few days earlier than the North Division.NHL Public Relations
The Sens will only have two games shuffled around. Game #720, Ottawa at Calgary, scheduled for April 20, is now scheduled for Sunday, May 9, at 8 p.m. ET and Game #833, Toronto at Ottawa, scheduled for May 10, is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. ET.
What’s Next for the Senators?
Now that the trade deadline is over, the organization can look forward to the end of the season, the draft, expansion draft and the free-agent period. Ryan Dzingel was the one player who wasn’t dealt yesterday on the roster that raised some eyebrows. The Sens had acquired Dzingel earlier this year in a deal that involved Alex Galchenyuk, and many believed he might be on the move again. As the deadline approached, insiders were commenting on the situation, and it seemed there was a consensus that GMs were concerned that he could only score in Ottawa and nowhere else. In any case, Dorion had said to the media on Monday that he and Ryan’s representatives will talk in the offseason.
The Sens will play three games over the next seven days, so there’s a good amount of rest that’s well needed. Once that week passes, they will play the Canucks for four straight games as they try and make up for lost time due to the COVID outbreak they sustained earlier this month. The end is near for Ottawa with just over a month left of action. I’m sure the organization and the fans are eager to put this year in the rearview and move forward with tons of potential for many seasons to come.