Selling Off Assets: Ottawa Senators Trade Candidates


It’s February 4th, and the Ottawa Senators sit 11th in the Eastern Conference and 12 points out of a playoff spot. If the team doesn’t realize that they should be sellers at the trade deadline, maybe they never will. I think part of it has to due to with the team wanting to still sell tickets the rest of the season, and they need to keep a good image up.

However, there are lots of players on this team that could be traded and the team wouldn’t be any worse (and in fact maybe even better). It’s clear that certain players on the team (mostly veterans) have hindered the team’s performance this year. And the odd thing is, the Senators could actually get decent assets for them.

So if the Senators are realistic about where they are, who can they trade to contending teams? Here’s a list of a few:

1. Chris Phillips/Chris Neil

The reason I put both of them here is because they both want to stay in Ottawa according to Pierre Lebrun:

However, I think the team ultimately does want to move them. Obviously it must be hard for Bryan Murray to trade them because of the loyalty factor, but at the end of the day the NHL is a business. Because Cap Geek no longer exists, I’m not entirely sure, but I do believe that both of them have limited no-trade clauses.

The hinders Murray if he tried to move them, but if they were traded to a contender I doubt they’d say no. They clearly aren’t useful players anymore, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get a decent return for them. I could easily see both of them getting a 2nd or 3rd round pick at best in return, which is fantastic for a deep draft. Out of anyone, these are the two that I would try to move first even if they still want to stay.

2. David Legwand

In the summer when Ottawa signed Legwand I didn’t have much of a reaction, but it seemed like a good depth signing, and he could play third line minutes where he had potential to score 50 points. However, it seems that the entire fan base has turned their back on him. He has only 7 even strength points, but 8 on the power play. Even though he should not even be on the power play, that is essentially the only place where he can rack up points.

He still has one year left on his contract, and he won’t be a key component of this team at all in the future. Even if Ottawa is good next year, he should be surpassed by younger players. Considering the Red Wings traded Calle Jarnkrok for Legwand last year, I still think Ottawa could get a B level prospect for him, or at least a lottery ticket type prospect. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t wait to see him traded.

Jan 10, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ottawa Senators left wing

Milan Michalek

(9) celebrates after scoring a power play goal on Arizona Coyotes goalie

Mike Smith

(41) during the first period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

3. Milan Michalek

I outlined before the fall from grace Michalek has had, and it isn’t pretty. He has had a better stretch recently, but that means this is the perfect time to reap the rewards. Ottawa should be smart and realize that he won’t be the same player that he was before, and try to trade him while he still has some value.

I don’t envision him being a top-six player again, and if he’s not, then he isn’t particularly useful. Much like Phillips, Neil, and Legwand, I see Michalek getting a similar return. He probably won’t get a whole lot, but I think it’s worth it. The most important part about trading him would be getting his contract off the books, because $4 million for the next 2.5 seasons is a lot for a budget team.

4. Marc Methot

Methot is different from everyone else on this list because I think Ottawa should actually re-sign him, and that he is still valuable to the team. I do think that having him on the top pairing with Erik Karlsson helps both himself and Karlsson, and signing him for reasonable money is the right move.

He would net the biggest return out of all these players, but exactly what that is I do not know

But Methot is reportedly asking for a lot of money (at least $5 million for 4 years), and if Ottawa can’t come to terms, they better trade him before they simply let him walk for nothing. Trading him is certainly an option at this point, and it has to be considered. He would net the biggest return out of all these players, but exactly what that is I do not know.

I’m guessing the Senators would ask for a 1st round pick and a prospect, and I truly believe a team would pay that. Whether it happens or not is a story for another day.

5. Eric Gryba

Gryba has only missed two games this year, but I think recently Dave Cameron has fallen out of favour with him. I thought before that he could be an alright 3rd pairing defenseman, but now I’d rather just trade him for whatever asset(s) the team can get. He’s essentially the same as Jared Cowen and Mark Borowiecki but worse in many aspects, which makes him redundant. Only Neil and Phillips have worse corsi than Gryba, and at the age of (almost) 27, he’s not going to improve.

Gryba would get the smallest return, but I would be fine with anything realistically. I would not expect anything more than a late round draft pick.

6. Zack Smith

I think everyone has forgotten that Smith even exists. He has only played 27 games this year, and perhaps he won’t play very many more for the Senators this year even after he comes back from injury. He’s an average fourth line centre, and he can sometimes be effective with better linemates. However, he takes too many penalties, has bad possession numbers, and there are better young centres Ottawa can use like JG Pageau and Curtis Lazar.

Smith is the same age as Gryba, and I’m not sure how much value he has. He has never scored more than 26 points in a season, and that seems to be his ceiling. The team certainly isn’t sorely missing Smith right now, so trading him and his contract now for assets would in no way hurt the team now or later.

I don’t think Murray wants to move him though, as he’s one of the “tough guys” on the team, and he’s the type of player that he likes. Hopefully he can come to his senses though.

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There are plenty of players that Ottawa will have to think about in trade talks, and there are even a few more outside of this list of seven. Even Alex Chiasson, Jared Cowen, and Craig Anderson should at least be discussed about before the trade deadline, even if the right deal doesn’t appear to be there.

Right now there aren’t a whole lot of players I would not consider trading, or are at least important in the team’s future. The list includes Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur, Bobby Ryan, Mika Zibanejad, Erik Karlsson, Curtis Lazar, JG Pageau, Robin Lehner, and Cody Ceci. It’s not as if I want the team to trade every single other player, but the aforementioned are the only players that are very important now and in the future.

If  the team realizes where they are at, it could be a busy few weeks before the trade deadline.