Ottawa Senators Greatest Players: Number – 7 Alexei Yashin

MONTREAL 1990's: Alexi Yashin
MONTREAL 1990's: Alexi Yashin /

Alexei Yashin is perhaps the most controversial player in Ottawa Senators history. However, it’s impossible to dispute his talent. He was a great player while with the Sens and falls into the number seven spot all-time.

Drafted second overall in 1992 Yashin became the first ever draft pick for the Ottawa Senators. He would join the team for the 1993-1994 season. He was brought in alongside the number one pick of 1993, Alexandre Daigle. These two were poised to become one of the most dynamic duos in the NHL. However, Daigle floundered while Yashin thrived. Yashin would quickly become the best player on the Ottawa Senators.

Off-Ice Issues And On-Ice Success

Despite Yashin outperforming Daigle, the Sens preferred to promote Daigle as their franchise cornerstone. This was the beginning of a tumultuous relationship between Yashin and the Sens. Throughout his time in Ottawa he requested to renegotiate his contract multiple times as he believed he deserved to be paid more. This even led to a year where he sat out the entire 1999-2000 season.

Despite contract disputes and questionable off-ice behavior, Yashin was a great player in Ottawa. His first season he scored 79 points and earned a nomination for the Calder Trophy. His career peaked in 1998-1999 when he scored 94 points and was the runner up for the Hart Trophy.

Ultimately however, Yashin’s career with the Ottawa Senators was cut short because of his terrible relationship with the team. He was forced to honor the final year of his contract where he had another great season as he put up 88 points. However, his relationship with the team was beyond repair and he was traded to the New York Islanders. This was the deal that sent Zdeno Chara and the pick that became Jason Spezza to the Sens. This was arguably the best deal in Ottawa Senators history.

Next: Ottawa Senators Greatest Players: Number – 8 Craig Anderson

An Unpopular But Great Player

As a member of the Ottawa Senators, Yashin scored 491 points in just 586 games. This was good enough for third all-time. He led the team to their first playoff appearance and scored the series winning goal for their first series win. Yashin will never be a fan favourite in Ottawa. He will likely remain one of the least popular players in Ottawa for a long time. However, there’s no denying just how good he was at hockey.