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OTT Takes 2-Straight From DET; Trades For Chychrun

March 2, 2023, 8:43 PM ET [192 Comments]
Guest Writer
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By Guest Writer (Ken Hawkins aka khawk)

What a difference a few days make. On the weekend, it felt like the Senators weren't ready to make a playoff push after a pair of losses to CAR/BOS and a half-game of effort against MTL. Then they utterly shredded DET in a pair of games they won by margins of 6-2 and 6-1, which sounds more like a lopsided tennis score. The Senators played the kind of hockey they were built to play - high-scoring and physical. Goals were scored by at least 5 different players in each game, and Watson, Gauthier, and Kastelic combined for 26 hits. Then you have Tkachuk challenging the entire DET bench with an already classic “who wants it?” line. Turns out DET had no answer, and you can believe Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman took note of his team’s lack of response.

The Senators now find themselves just 5pts out of a wild card spot, with games in hand on most of the teams they’re chasing. It looks increasingly like a 6-team race, all of whom currently have 30-31 wins, and are on the even/plus side of the GF/GA. The schedule in March will be very tough, but this is true of all teams. In terms of momentum, it feels like teams like WSH/FLA may be fading, and have certainly done little at the trade deadline to improve. Meanwhile, OTT continues to see growth in numerous young players, and had the best record in the past 10 games of any of the six teams (6-3-1). Veteran Derrick Brassard even went so far as to publicly vocalize the opinion that they were a team worth investing in at the trade deadline.

The Chychrun Trade

Then this happened. The long-anticipated trade for Jacob Chychrun finally came to a close on Wednesday, as Dorion acquired the highly-coveted D-man from ARI. On the surface, it appears to be a major win by the Senators - if only from the perspective of what wasn’t given up in the process. Rumours persisted of ARI holding out for players like Pinto, Greig, or Sogaard to be included, in addition to a first-round pick and likely one of the Senators’ young D prospects. In the end, the price was downgraded to a 1st-2023, a 2nd-2024, and a 2nd-2026, along with a laundry list of conditions that are unlikely to manifest. It’s a case study of a GM trying to maximize the return, but pricing themselves out of the market, and running out of viable options. In the end, the Coyotes got 3 quality draft picks and didn't take back salary in return, but I'm sure many Coyotes fans are questioning the lack of a centrepiece player/prospect.

Ultimately, the addition of Chychrun is a major win for the Senators. Rarely does a trade garner such a positive consensus opinion by major media outlets and online pundits, and there’s no element of this trade that doesn’t work for OTT. Positionally, it addresses their most significant roster weakness. Financially, he’s signed at a very reasonable $4.6M AAV for the next 2.5 years, so it’s a move that benefits them for multiple years. Socially, he has ties to Ottawa, and had specifically identified a desire to play for the Senators. Timing-wise, it builds on their momentum of making a playoff run and building excitement in the fanbase, and cost-wise they kept all of their young roster talent and key prospects. A+

Chychrun is expected to join the team in New York and could be in the lineup as early as tonight for their game vs. NYR. It should also be the first game for Patrick Kane in a Rangers jersey, which only ups the stakes on both sides. Win or lose, it’s a very fun time to be a fan of the Ottawa Senators.
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