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With Both Players Now Re-signed, Who Wins the Nick Paul-Mathieu Joseph Trade?

The Senators signed RFA winger Mathieu Joseph to a new 4-year contract this week worth $2.9 million per season. Earlier this month, former Senator Nick Paul got a 7-year deal in Tampa worth $3.1 million. With both now re-signed, which team made out better in the trade? @TSNSteve has more.

Cross another item off of Pierre Dorion's summertime to-do list. The Senators have re-signed restricted free agent winger Mathieu Joseph to a four-year deal worth $11.8 million. Joseph had filed for arbitration this summer but Thursday's signing allowed both sides to dodge all those unpleasantries. The deal has an annual average value of $2.95 million. Joseph will make $2.5 million for the upcoming season. In year two, he'll get $2.7 million and then jump up to $3.3 million for each of the final two years.

Joseph arrived in Ottawa at this year's trade deadline in a one for one deal with Tampa in exchange for winger Nick Paul. Joseph made an immediate and surprising impact, with 12 points in 11 games here. Prior to the trade, Joseph had put up just 18 points in his previous 58 games for Tampa.

"Mathieu's addition made an immediate positive impact as someone who fit in well with our group," Dorion said in a press release Thursday. "He has high-end speed, a nose for the net and is responsible in his own end. He's long demonstrated good upside and is someone we're counting on to have another solid season both in 2022-23 and beyond."

The words “good” and “solid” tell you Dorion isn't counting on Joseph to continue his point-a-game pace in Ottawa. Joseph had many nights where he got top line minutes for the injury-plagued Senators. With everyone healthy again, and the additions of Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux, that won't happen this season. Joseph will be back to the bottom six minutes he received in Tampa, probably riding shotgun with Shane Pinto and Alex Formenton.

Joseph is likely to be the new Connor Brown in Ottawa. With Brown being shipped to Washington for just a second rounder this summer, Joseph seems like the perfect replacement. Like Brown, he kills penalties, skates like the wind, and can thrive on whatever line you put him on. Being younger and less expensive doesn't hurt either.

Joseph's acquisition at this year's trade deadline took the sting out of losing a popular player in Paul, who had a fantastic playoff run for the Lightning. The two players will always be connected by their deal.

So which team made out better in this trade? Who will be the better player over the next four years?

By their actions, Tampa Bay voted loudly for Paul, recently re-signing him for 7 years at $3.1 million. That was exactly the kind of money they couldn't (or didn't want to) give to Joseph, an RFA, so they traded him. With Paul, after seeing all he did for them in the playoffs, Tampa juggled things around and found the money to keep him. He's already played 23 playoff games for the Lightning, while Joseph dressed for just 10 of Tampa's 52 playoff games during his time there.

Nick Paul's biggest fans in Ottawa are probably wondering why the Sens couldn't keep him around. If you're willing to pay Joseph $2.9 million, and Paul was satisfied at $3.1 million, then it wouldn't have been much of a strain to retain Paul, who does it all. But they're different situations. Paul just had a taste of competing for a Cup, the great weather, and no state (or provincial) income tax. And he got term as well. $3.1 million begins to look a lot more attractive in his current situation. Back at the deadline in Ottawa, he might have needed a bigger number to forego the lure of unrestricted free agency and a chance to find what he now has in Tampa.

Meanwhile, Joseph has some of the same assets Paul does, only in a smaller, faster package. He's very tight with Thomas Chabot, going back to their junior days when they tore up “The Q” together in Saint John. He'll join Chabot and Giroux as another great liaison to the Sens' french speaking media and fans. Joseph also checks in two years younger than Paul and will be in his prime for the entirety of his four-year deal. Joseph seems absolutely thrilled to be in Ottawa, even beyond hockey.

With so many NHL trades today, at least one of the teams involved is holding their nose as they make the deal. Maybe they're moving good players in a rebuild or they need cap relief, dumping salary. There aren't too many NHL trades anymore where both sides are completely happy with the players they received, exclusively for hockey reasons.

This looks like one of those deals.

By Steve Warne | Faces Magazine


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