General Manager Pierre Dorion and his Ottawa Senators came off their bye-week dead last in the NHL. This team came into the year not expecting to be good and they haven’t been. So, it seems relatively obvious they will be sellers in the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline.
However, with lots of expiring contracts and a rebuild underway, Dorion has lots of decisions to make. Ottawa may be a bigger seller than most teams out there, with lots of big names. With the February 25th deadline coming up, here are some decisions Pierre Dorion has to make.
Possible Pierre Dorion Trade Candidates
First, Dorion has a tough choice in Matt Duchene. Duchene has the Sens fanbase split on what to do. On one hand, he is clearly one of the Sens best current players. However, he is also 28 and asking for a big payday. The long-term cost for Duchene may not be worth it for the Senators.
If they do decide to trade him away, Duchene should fetch a good return. While it may not be the return the Colorado Avalanche got last season, Duchene will still be one of the best players available this deadline. A first round pick and a solid prospect should not be out of the question as a return Pierre Dorion should be asking for. The Senators could accelerate their rebuild if they find a contender looking for some center depth.
Next, we have Ryan Dzingel. Dzingel has been a nice surprise for Sens fans this year, showing his potential. The 26-year-old is on pace for almost 35 goals and 65 points this season. He is a speedy forward that can slide up and down a lineup. He would be some great middle six depth for a team looking to make a playoff run.
Pierre Dorion has an interesting situation here. It may depend on the possible return for Dzingel. However, it has been reported that there have been almost no contract talks between Dzingel and the Sens, leading to speculation a trade is a way to go. If they can get Dzingel to sign a 3 or 4-year deal, he could be very useful as an actual body through a rebuild.
However, if a trade is the route they go, Dzingel’s return is very interesting. Elliotte Friedman was on Sportsnet Radio talking about his return. Friedman said, “Last year, what did Grabner go for – he went for a second-rounder and a prospect. I think that’s probably the kind of thing you’re looking at, and maybe higher because of the year he’s having.”
If the Senators can pick up a first rounder and a prospect, they should really think about it. Picks are the best way to start a rebuild and stockpiling on them are the way to go. Pierre Dorion should be giving himself as many opportunities to find a star as he can.
The last of the “Big 3” UFA forwards for the Sens is Mark Stone. Once again, Dorion is going to have a big decision to make. Out of this group of forwards, Stone is by far the best one. He is the guy that you put all your effort into keeping if at all possible.
However, it would be really tough for Ottawa to lose him this offseason. Letting him walk without getting any assets back is a tough pill to swallow. So, Dorion needs to know what Stone’s plans are. If he can get a deal done, Sens fans would rejoice. There is almost no doubt Stone would be the next Senators captain. He is the heart and soul of the team.
It remains to be seen what a Stone contract may look like. It was rumoured that their original offer was 8 years at over 8 million. Possibly in the area of 9 or so. Stone is easily a top 5 winger in the league this season and he is just 26 years old. Offering him a long-term deal may not look as bad as it would if he was 2-3 years older. As well, being a truly elite player means he has farther to fall from. Pierre Dorion needs to get a deal done or see what is out there because losing Stone for nothing would be devastating.
Cody Ceci has been a very polarizing figure in Ottawa. He is a very typical argument of “is a player good because he plays lots of minutes, even if he doesn’t play well in said minutes?” It appears as if most of the fanbase has lost patience with Ceci. At 25 years old, it doesn’t seem likely he will improve much more on what he already is. As well, Ottawa would have to give him at least a 4.3 million dollar qualifying offer next season.
This price tag may be too much for his play alone. Add in the fact he will no doubt be asking for more and Ottawa may want to move on. There are teams that are apparently interested. Ceci is a right-handed shot and those are super valuable in the NHL. If Dorion can get assets back for his minute-logging blueliner it may be in his best interest to do so.
While it is very unlikely all 4 of the above-mentioned move, those are the biggest names that will get the biggest return. However, there are also other roster players on Ottawa that may be shopped.
Zack Smith – Smith is a depth player who has seen a lot with the Sens. He was very prominent in trade rumours last year, but nothing materialized. While his name hasn’t been mentioned too often because of the players above, he may be the type of guy a team wants to look at. He’s a decent depth player with multiple years under contract. This is important to some teams who wish to stay away from rentals.
Magnus Paajarvi – It’s hard to imagine the market is very big for Paajarvi, however, being a UFA at the end of the season it is possible the Sens see what they can get for him. A team looking to add a 13th forward may give up a late pick for him.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Once again, the odds he leaves seem pretty slim. Pageau is a lovable local kid and a solid bottom 6 player who can slot up if need be. If the Sens trade Duchene it seems likely Pageau will be the second line centre again. However, he is also a very good looking trade target. Once again not being a pure rental could be an advantage. If some team feels they need center depth maybe they call about JGP.
Youngsters – There are definitely a few players on the current roster that are likely untouchable. Most of these players are under the age of 23. Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot are the two obvious ones. Guys like Colin White, Rudolfs Balcers, and Christian Jaros are all also staying. These are the guys you look to build around or surround your core with going forward. They’re young and cheap, trading them would make no sense.
Dylan DeMelo – Being one of the key pieces coming back in the Erik Karlsson trade this summer, it is hard to envision DeMelo being moved. He is also on a steal of a contract at just $900K for next year too. Making it something the Sens will obviously want to hold on to. DeMelo isn’t anything super special, however, just having a top 4 defenceman who can log some minutes moving forward will be very helpful.
Overall, it is pretty obvious Pierre Dorion has a ton of work to do. He will have to negotiate contracts with multiple players. If those contracts don’t pan out he will almost unquestionably have to be aggressively shopping them. It is very possible we see a fire sale in Ottawa come February 25th. One thing is for sure, Pierre Dorion will be one of the most active GM’s out there.