Reports have emerged on social media that suggest the Ottawa Senators could be in talks over a significant trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Now it appears that one such player could make his way north along the 401 to the Canadian capital.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Sens and Leafs are involved in trade talks for right-handed defenceman Nikita Zaitsev.
There is belief that Cody Ceci could be heading back in return. Would make sense if it was processed after Zaitsev’s $3M bonus is paid July 1. https://t.co/AJ31P49MGh
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 29, 2019
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston added that it is possible that the return could include restricted free agent Cody Ceci heading down to the Southern Ontario club.
Trade talks involving Zaitsev are somewhat surprising after it was believed that the Senators were on the Russian’s ‘no-trade’ list, which is set to kick in on July 1st.
Any trade involving Zaitsev would likely take place after free agency begins as he is owed a $3 million signing bonus and the Senators, while needing his $4.5 million cap hit, would prefer to not pay such a significant sum of money.
A trade involving Ceci and Zaitsev switching clubs could be good for both players, who could both do with fresh starts after facing heavy criticism from fans.
A move to Ottawa would see Zaitsev play a prominent role on a young Senators blueline, likely satisfying his need for a larger role with more opportunities for power-play minutes.
For Ceci, it would give him a new opportunity to regain his position as a top-four defenceman and play a significant role on a Leafs team that is hoping to contend for the Stanley Cup.
As he is still an unsigned RFA, there is the matter of what kind of contract Ceci could command – especially if he is sent to the Leafs without a new deal.
With D.J. Smith at the helm, Zaitsev may find himself regaining the form he had in his rookie season – where he registered 36 points (four goals, 32 assists) in 82 regular season games.
For the Senators, Zaitsev’s cap hit would help to address their cap shortfall and he would provide them with a defensive piece that is locked up for the next five seasons.
With the 27-year-old’s performances slumping over the past two seasons, there is a significant risk for the Ottawa Senators, but it may be one the organisation is willing to make if Ceci is demanding in excess of $5 million.
Free agency kicks off on Monday and the truth behind these trade rumours will be revealed at the very least in the days following.
What do you think of this potential trade Sens fans? Would you be happy to see Zaitsev join the team? What are your thoughts in Ceci possibly leaving? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!