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Pay attention exhausting and you may detect some grumbling that the Ottawa Senators discover themselves within the place of commerce deadline sellers but once more. 

Wasn’t this the yr the Senators would maybe be including gamers on the deadline in a push to agency up their playoff drive?

For causes we now have mentioned right here earlier than (and can once more), the Sens should not within the playoff race and gained’t be patrons for this specific season. 

And but, there’s a large distinction between this deadline and the previous 4 which have seen Ottawa play the position of pure vendor. As an alternative of simply stockpiling picks as they did within the earlier years of this deep rebuild, this time the Sens will add picks judiciously whereas additionally seeking to make “hockey trades” (don’t you’re keen on that time period?) if in any respect doable. 

In different phrases, with so many key items already in place – assume Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson, Tim Stützle, Josh Norris, Shane Pinto, Thomas Chabot, Jake Sanderson et al. – Ottawa is within the hunt for established gamers who may very well be a part of their aggressive group subsequent yr and the yr after. The Senators not wish to merely add draft selections that might take three or 4 years to mature. 

Basic supervisor Pierre Dorion has mentioned he will likely be on the lookout for alternatives so as to add depth to his roster, both on the deadline or to set the stage for a later deal. 

In the meantime, who would possibly transfer from Ottawa between now and the March 21 deadline? The Senators have seven unrestricted free brokers and some different gamers they wouldn’t thoughts transferring for wage causes. 

Though the Senators haven’t any headline grabbers – gamers who’re cracking the highest 10, and even high 20 names on the varied commerce board lists – they’ve gamers who might draw curiosity, significantly this trio:

TOP 3 ON OTTAWA’S TRADE BOARD

F Nick Paul 

Age: 26 (turns 27 March 20)

Measurement: 6-foot-3, 224 lbs.

GP 52 | G 9 | A 7 | Pts 16 | PIMs 20

The thin: Paul’s nickname is “Does all of it,” which additionally serves as a useful description of Ottawa’s dilemma with this widespread, heart-on-his-sleeve ahead. Paul is nearly every part you need in a hockey participant, aside from being a real scoring risk. As a task participant, able to filling in wherever within the lineup, at centre or wing, Paul is right. He’s large, bodily when he must be, a top-flight penalty killer and supreme group man. His coaches and teammates love him and nobody would begrudge this large ahead a pleasant elevate from the paltry $1.35 million he’s incomes. Paul, a late-round decide of the Dallas Stars, acquired by Ottawa within the commerce for Jason Spezza, labored exhausting to make himself a strong NHLer. An energetic mental-health advocate in Ottawa, Paul has made it clear he needs to stick with the Senators. The Sens wish to maintain him, however at a value that’s applicable for the position he’s going to have as this group will get extra aggressive within the years forward. A multiyear deal within the $3-million vary would possibly maintain either side blissful, however the nearer we get to March 21, the extra it appears probably Paul will likely be dealt earlier than the deadline. 

Why he may very well be moved: He’s the proper two-way position participant for a playoff group, able to enjoying any model of sport. 

Why he might keep:  Paul and the Senators group have invested loads of time and vitality in reaching this level. It’s a greater story if he stays. 

G Anton Forsberg 

Age: 29

Measurement: 6-foot-3, 192 lbs.

W 11  |  L 9  |  T

GAA  2.80  |  SV% .918 

The thin: Did that 45-save efficiency in Florida Thursday showcase Forsberg’s worth as a commerce chip or remind Sens administration that Forsberg ought to be signed and saved? Personally, I might maintain Forsberg as Murray Insurance coverage, though it’s difficult by the truth that prospect Filip Gustavsson will likely be on a one-way contract subsequent season. 

Forsberg may not have the pedigree of a Marc-Andre Fleury, however the large Swede has been rock strong this season as a backup for Matt Murray, usually known as upon on quick discover as a consequence of a Murray harm or sickness. Not solely does Forsberg have nice numbers on the season, he has been much more spectacular over the previous month. His February numbers: 4-1-0, 2.42 goals-against common and .929 save share. Towards the Panthers Thursday, Forsberg saved Ottawa in a sport it had no enterprise being in, stopping 45 of 48 pictures. 

With 24 video games, that is Forsberg’s busiest season since 2017-18, when he appeared in 35 video games for the Chicago Blackhawks. A number of playoff contenders are available in the market for depth in purpose, and Forsberg may very well be a superb addition as insurance coverage. The one draw back about Forsberg as a deadline pickup: he doesn’t have NHL playoff expertise. 

Why he may very well be moved: Gustavsson has a one-way contract for subsequent season. Murray is the starter. Forsberg makes three. 

Why he might keep: With Murray having been out and in of the lineup for the higher a part of two seasons in Ottawa, Forsberg represents a secure, skilled backup. 

F Zach Sanford

Age: 27

Measurement: 6-foot-4, 206 lbs.

GP 53 | G 9 | A 7 | Pts. 16 | PIM 32

The thin: Oddly, Sanford has an virtually equivalent stat line to Nick Paul’s. Although not as versatile as Paul, who has extra velocity and might play centre, Sanford might be an efficient, grinding winger, simply the kind of pickup a group would possibly need for the bodily area of the post-season. In reality, Sanford’s largest draw is his playoff resume – in 4 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Sanford was a strong contributor, together with on their Stanley Cup spring of 2019. A yr later, Sanford had an excellent larger position within the playoffs, enjoying 15:15 on common, effectively above his common season TOI. In 9 playoff video games in 2020, Sanford chipped in a purpose and three assists. Senators head coach D.J. Smith has inspired Sanford to be bodily aggressive down low, and when he brings that facet of his sport, he’s efficient. 

Why he may very well be moved: He’s a match for a group needing a bodily winger for the playoffs. 

Why he might keep: The one approach Sanford stays is that if there aren’t any deadline presents for him. He’s most likely not a longer-term match with so many prospects within the Ottawa system. 

Additionally within the combine: UFA forwards Tyler Ennis (all the time a well-liked deadline attraction), Chris Tierney (injured) and defencemen Josh Brown and Dillon Heatherington. The Senators have some cumbersome contracts they wish to transfer, together with defenceman Nikita Zaitsev (two years left at $4.5 million) and centre Colin White (three years left at $4.75 million), however it’s unlikely something will occur on these information on the deadline. 

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