Ottawa Senators: Could a Trade for Marian Gaborik be in the Works

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 19: Marian Gaborik
CALGARY, AB - MARCH 19: Marian Gaborik /

The Ottawa Senators earlier in the off-season were rumoured to be in talks with the Kings for a trade involving Dustin Brown and Dion Phaneuf. However, as it turns out the trade would involve Marian Gaborik rather than Brown.

When the rumour of a Phaneuf for Brown trade came out it looked like it could be a wash. Both overpaid players at the same value being traded. I was never a fan of this as Phaneuf can still contribute while Brown has taken massive dips in recent years. However, the rumour that the Ottawa Senators could acquire Marian Gaborik is an interesting one.

A Struggling Former Star

In terms of name recognition Gaborik certainly stands out much more than Brown. Gaborik was a star for years and was one of the biggest offensive threats in the league. Phaneuf on the other hand has never really been a star. He had a few very strong years in Calgary but that was a long time ago. Since then he’s put up second pairing numbers on a superstar contract. Just looking at the names it seems like a no brainer for the Sens. However, Gaborik isn’t the same player he was even three years ago. Injuries have taken their toll on him as he hasn’t played a full season since 2011-2012. In fact he’s only had one season of over 60 games in that time.

These injuries have resulted in his offensive output being affected. Scoring just over 20 points in the last two seasons, he’s struggled to contribute. Conversely, Phaneuf has been a stable second pairing defenceman for the Sens. With Ottawa losing Methot they already have a splintered defence. Trading a defenceman for a forward is not the solution right now. Both players are on long term contracts but Phaneuf provides more value right now. The Sens may need scoring but Gaborik is not the solution, he can’t help like he did in the past.

The Benefits

The only benefit of making the trade would be in terms of the contracts. Both are signed through 2020-2021, but Phaneuf makes seven million a season, while Gaborik makes 4.875 million per year. Gaborik would free up cap space for the Sens to make a move. However, even after the Sens sign Pageau and Dzingel should still have five to six million of cap space to make a move. Additionally, since the majority of free agents that would be worth signing are already taken the Sens don’t need immediate cap relief.

Next: Ottawa Senators: The Inconsistent History of Guy Boucher

Wrap Up

The Ottawa Senators are in need of scoring. Gaborik coming in at first glance may look like a solution. However, he’s already regressed significantly and at the age of 35 won’t be improving anytime soon. Giving up Phaneuf may not seem like a terrible cost but with the defence already depleted by the loss of Methot he is more needed than ever. Giving up a defenceman for a forward is not something the Sens can afford to do right now.