Reviewing the Major Trades of the Ottawa Senators Rebuild

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 17: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators rests during a stoppage in play in the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 17, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Ottawa 2-1. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Erik Karlsson
COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 17: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators rests during a stoppage in play in the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 17, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Ottawa 2-1. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Erik Karlsson /
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SAN JOSE, CA – MAY 08: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks shoots on goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period in Game Seven of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 8, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA – MAY 08: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks shoots on goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period in Game Seven of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 8, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Trade:

On September 13th, 2018 Ottawa dropped a bombshell on the NHL, when they sent superstar defenceman Erik Karlsson to San Jose for a haul of assets. At the time of the trade, rightfully so, most Senators fans were upset. They had just traded away the most talented play to ever play for the franchise for 2 middling NHLers (Tierney, DeMelo), and at the time two prospects with middle-tier ceilings (Norris, Balcers), also with one 1st round pick and two second round picks.

While Ottawa did pick up a lot of assets, they targeted quantity over quality, which was looked down upon many experts. Many people were upset about Ottawa’s inability to grab top prospects such as Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier, while Ottawa settled for Josh Norris.

During the 2018-19 season, the trade looked to be paying off for San Jose as they made an appearance in the Western Conference Finals, while Karlsson was showed some dominant flashes during the postseason. Ottawa was in the midst of a disastrous season, where they would end up finishing last in the NHL, and remember that 2019 1st round pick surrendered in the Matt Duchene trade… yep, Colorado now had the best odds at getting the first overall pick. Thankfully, the pick would end up falling to 3, where the Avalanche would end up selecting defenceman Bowen Byram, a player Ottawa could of definitely used.

Heading into the 2019-20 season it was clear Ottawa was in full rebuild mode, and now owning their own draft selection for the upcoming draft the team had a more clear plan.

At the trade deadline Ottawa unloaded some veterans, gaining some more draft capital, but to many fans dismay traded Dylan DeMelo at the deadline to Winnipeg:

DeMelo, who had success playing on the top pairing with Thomas Chabot and was just 26 years old, this didn’t seem like a very rebuild conscious trade, especially with the minimal return.

Other than the trade of DeMelo, everything went Ottawa’s way in terms of the Karlsson trade. Josh Norris won AHL rookie of the year after being stellar in Belleville, Chris Tierney was solid with the big club and Rudolfs Balcers was good once again in Belleville. All of those events pale in comparison to the fact that San Jose finished the season with the third worst record in the NHL at 29-36-5, leaving Ottawa with the second and third best odds at first overall. Despite getting 3rd and 5th overall Ottawa has to be happy with how the trade looks now, as they look like the team who has came out on top.

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