The Ottawa Senators’ rebuild is in full swing, and the team may have two Top 5 picks in the most loaded draft in recent memory; however, GM Pierre Dorion’s work is far from over, as the trade deadline is almost two weeks away. The Senators are poised to be sellers at all positions, as they can satisfy teams’ needs at forward, defenseman, and goaltenders.
The Senators have 10 players who are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1st, and 6 restricted free agents. The contracts of Ryan Callahan and Clarke MacArthur expire at the conclusion of this season, and the Sens will roll into free agent frenzy with around 38 million in cap space (Cap Friendly). This is a critical offseason for the team, as they may have two Top 5 picks and among the league’s highest cap space to sign free agents. They’ve made it clear that practically anyone can be had for the right price except for emerging star Brady Tkachuk, who is coming off of his first all-star game selection due to the wrist injury of Auston Matthews.
Ottawa is obviously set to be high sellers at the deadline, and the most coveted of their 16 impending free agents is center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. At 27 years of age, Pageau has already topped his career-high in goals in almost 30 fewer games and has 35 games of playoff experience under his belt. Despite the fact he has back to back seasons of negative AB production, his career AB score is a solid +1.85. Pageau is among the better players on the Senators when it comes to drawing penalties, as he currently has drawn 10 more penalties than he has taken. Pageau is clearly the Senators’ best asset and should net the team a 3rd first-round pick in the upcoming draft.
On the defensive side, Dylan DeMelo, Ron Hainsey, Mark Borowiecki, and Cody Goloubef are all on expiring contracts, and could be moved to provide needed minutes for Ottawa’s top defensive prospects. Out of all of these players, we think Mark Borowiecki is the least likely to be moved as he is a key leader of the Sens locker room, and an alternate captain for this season. All of these defensemen have very negative career AB scores (Borowiecki -3.52, DeMelo -1.39, Hainsey -2.41, Goloubef -3.80) and Ottawa could most likely trade them for either mid-level prospects or mid-round draft picks.
Lastly, the Senators could participate in aiding teams on the goaltending end with Craig Anderson. With a career .913 save percentage, Craig Anderson would be one of the best rental goalies available and depending on salary retention, could get Ottawa a decent haul at the deadline. Even if they elect to trade Anderson, their goaltending room would still be stable with Marcus Hogberg and Anders Nilsson, with talented prospect Filip Gustavsson on the way soon.
With DJ Smith as head coach, the Senators are playing somewhat competitive hockey and the business side appears to be on the right track in the rebuild process. They understand they should try and stockpile as many prospects and picks as possible by trading their free agents at the deadline, and they should be a fun team to watch trade-wise over the next couple of weeks. More to come.