Ottawa Senators Trade Dion Phaneuf To LA For Marian Gaborik

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 1: Marian Gaborik
NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 1: Marian Gaborik /

In a move that seemingly came out of nowhere, the Ottawa Senators have traded Dion Phaneuf and Nate Thompson to the Las Angeles Kings in exchange for Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore.

The deal is a strange one in that it’s difficult to gauge the winner. In fact, it seems like a fairly lateral move for both teams with the Ottawa Senators maybe coming out as slight victors.

Salary Dump

Before getting into the players first we must talk about the true purpose of this trade, shedding salary. This was a trade where both teams were looking to unload bad contracts. Unfortunately, with both teams shedding a bad contract it seems to be a lateral move. The Sens traded away Phaneuf and while that sounds great for the Sens they took on Gaborik. One for one this would be a great trade for the Sens as Gaborik is cheaper than Phaneuf. However, it wasn’t one for one. The Sens also agreed to retain 25% of Phaneuf’s salary.

Combining the salary of Gaborik and the retained salary of Phaneuf the Sens are saving less than $400,000 in cap space per season. However, in terms of real dollars the Sens save a little over three million dollars over the next three seasons. That’s a factor that is always important to Melnyk.

Thompson And Shore

The second part of the trade is actually where the Sens did fairly well but at the end of the day isn’t that significant. The Sens traded Nate Thompson and acquired Nick Shore. Both players play similar roles in that they are penalty killing forwards with little offensive upside. However, Thompson was more expensive with another year on his contract and also much older. Nick Shore is 25 and an RFA at the end of the season. He has more room for improvement and will likely cost less than Thompson to retain.

Phaneuf And Gaborik

Lastly let’s compare Phaneuf and Gaborik as players without getting into their salaries. Both are players that were stars at one point in their career but are well past their prime. Phaneuf is a 32 year old defenceman and Gaborik is a 36 year old forward. Phaneuf is a serviceable defenceman but is often caught out of position and can be a liability. Gaborik can still contribute offensively, but is incredibly injury prone, similar to Bobby Ryan. Right now, Gaborik probably has more to offer but since he’s older he may fall off drastically over the next few seasons, while Phaneuf may be serviceable for a few more seasons.

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A Lateral Move

The Ottawa Senators made their second blockbuster trade of the season, but this time it’s with the mindset of rebuilding and shedding salary. While the deal does relieve the Sens of salary slightly it is basically a negligible amount. The Sens may be slight victors when looking at this trade but ultimately it was a lateral move for both teams.