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Farewell to Nick Paul and Other Sens Trade Deadline News

Nick Paul may do it all but obviously couldn't do enough for the Senators to meet his contract demands this spring.

And so, after eight years of working his way up in the organization, the Senators shipped him to Tampa Bay on trade deadline day. In return, the Sens acquired Mathieu Joseph. Like Paul, Joseph is a bottom six guy who kills penalties, has 18pts this season and seems like a great person. Unlike Paul, Joseph has better acceleration, he's not nearly as big as Paul, he's cheaper at $737K, an RFA, has a Cup ring, and is two years younger.

Tampa was in the market for a little more size for the ferocity of the Stanley cup playoffs and Paul, two inches and 35 pounds heavier than Joseph, certainly fits that bill.

"Paul is built for playoff hockey and we felt we wanted some more size and physicality in our forward group," GM Julien Brisebois told The Athletic.

This is a true playoff rental. Tampa is in such cap hell, they'll almost certainly let Paul walk into unrestricted free agency. Had Joseph not been dealt, Tampa likely wouldn't have qualified him, making him a UFA this summer as well.

The Senators will definitely qualify Joseph and see where things go from there. They also get a 4th rounder in return so, all in all, they got pretty good value. A smaller (but not small), faster, bottom six forward from the Stanley Cup champions for a bottom six guy on the 28th place team.

It also remains interesting to me the incredible amount of stock that GM Pierre Dorion seems to put into acquiring guys who are really good friends with current Senator players. Joseph and Thomas Chabot played four years of major junior together at Saint John.

What truly has Senators fans on edge today is the deal they made Sunday for veteran defenceman Travis Hamonic.

There is absolutely no doubt the Senators are in a seemingly perpetual need of help on the blueline. In my opinion, Hamonic is an upgrade on right shot defencemen like Nikita Zaitsev and Josh Brown.

But the Sens are being widely panned today for reasons more related to cap and asset management. Hamonic makes $3 million next season. If you're taking that on, and helping the Canucks out of cap hell, is it really necessary to give up a third rounder? It shouldn't be. And if you listen to Canuck fans and media, they think Hamonic was close to becoming a healthy scratch there. This feels like another acquisition of hope, taking on a defenceman who used to be good like Braydon Coburn or Michael Del Zotto. Or players like Derek Stepan and Alex Galcheynuk.

What's more, the pundits suggest, that extra $3 million probably would have helped them retain Nick Paul.

I've chosen to wait and see Hamonic play an actual game. Perhaps he'll surprise us.

Perhaps he is worth $3 million to the defensively challenged Ottawa Senators. Perhaps Joseph will make fans forget Paul. Perhaps the Canucks valued Hamonic more than Vancouver fans and media did. Perhaps Paul re-signs here this summer.

That's a lot of perhapses.

The distrust for the club's pro scouting ability has become so overwhelming, and rightly so, there's not a single benefit of the doubt given these days.

The Sens also dealt winger Zach Sanford to Winnipeg for a 5th rounder. They sent defenceman Josh Brown and a 7th rounder to Boston for Zach Sensyshyn and either a 5th or 6th rounder. They picked up minor league goalie Michael McNiven for future considerations.

The Sens deserve serious credit for the re-signing of Anton Forsberg. They gave Forsberg a three-year extension worth $8.25M (2.75M AAV).

Forsberg clearly won the three-way battle for the starter's role this season. And if he hangs on to it, it's an absolute steal – like ridiculous. If he happens to falter as a number one, he wouldn't even be the highest paid NHL backup. That's a great deal for both sides.

In the grand scheme of the rebuild, we can't pretend that this deadline activity is much more than moving the furniture around. The major renovations are still to come between now and this fall. That's when they'll have access to the best building blocks. Some are lightly used parts they sent out for repair (Batherson, Pinto, Chabot). Other parts are shiny and new (Sanderson, Greig, Thomson, Bernard-Docker, Sokolov). It's impossible not to see better days ahead.

By Steve Warne | Sens Nation Hockey

1 Comment

Pat Maguire
Pat Maguire
Mar 22, 2022

The power of positive thinking cannot be underestimated. Let's hope the key pieces all take a step forward over the summer to get ready for the season. The team has been decimated by injuries. This just showed our lack of organizational depth.

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