The 2017 NHL Trade Deadline has passed and the Ottawa Senators found themselves as one of the most active teams.
If there’s one word that would describe the deadline for the Sens it would be controversial. Everything started with the Burrows trade. The Ottawa Senators traded prospect Jonathan Dahlen to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for forward Alex Burrows. Let’s get this out of the way, I am not a fan of this trade as a whole. It sacrifices some of the future for a 35 year old 3rd liner. However, this trade is not a disaster as many seem to believe.
The Burrows Trade
Firstly, it’s important to look at this trade for what it is, an attempt to make this team better now. This trade does that, the Senators are a better team this season with Burrows than they are without him. The Sens are a team that are in a situation where much of their core is in their prime, including their superstar Erik Karlsson. Unless this team wants to waste the prime of a generational talent and the best player this team has ever seen then they have to make moves.
Who is Jonathan Dahlen
Secondly, let’s take a look at Jonathan Dahlen and what he is as well as what he projects to be. Dahlen was the second round pick of the Sens in last year’s draft. He has proved to be a steal for a second round pick as he has surpassed many of his pears drafted earlier in the same draft. However, Sens fans and many around the community are quick to overrate their prospects. Dahlen is not Thomas Chabot or Colin White or even Logan Brown. He was generally seen as the fifth or sixth best prospect of the Sens. He is excelling in the second best league in Sweden at the age of 19.
Dahlen Comparison and Projection
The comparison that has been thrown around the most is to Filip Forsberg as they have similar numbers. However, nothing is a sure thing and Dahlen, despite playing with men at a young age, is still playing in just the tier two Swedish league. Plenty of players that have been near the top of the scoring race in this league never make much of a splash in the NHL. This isn’t to say that Dahlen won’t, in fact there is a good chance he makes the NHL. His projection is to be a middle six player with scoring upside, not a star by any means. Furthermore, Dahlen’s not projected to make the NHL for another two or three years and it will likely take another year or two to come into his own in the league. The majority of this teams core will be out of their prime by the time Dahlen is ready to be a big contributor.
The State of the Eastern Conference
The Eastern Conference is in an interesting state this year. The Atlantic is weak and a team like Ottawa could get to the conference final without much resistance. The team that comes out of the Metro will likely be tired and beat up after going through two of the Caps, Pens, Rangers, and Blue Jackets. If there was a year for a dark horse to sneak into the Stanley Cup Finals it’d be this year.
Other Deadline Deals
Overall, the Senators had a good deadline. They somehow managed to get a 2nd round pick and some defensive depth for Curtis Lazar. They made a quiet but solid addition in Viktor Stalberg for just a 3rd round pick and they added Burrows. Yes, they probably could have got Burrows for less, but this team is better than they were yesterday with him.
The Ottawa Senators could be ready to make a run in a year with weak opposition. Sens fans have wanted management to make a move for years and while they were flawed they improved the team. Don’t count out the Pesky Sens because if there was a time for a dark horse to surprise, it’s this one.