The Ottawa Senators got their best player back in the lineup last night, as Brady Tkachuk made his season debut after a long contract negotiation came to an end. He ended up playing 19:39 in his first game back, racking up six hits, three shots, a block, and an assist on the team’s only goal. The Senators dropped the game to the San Jose Sharks but still look like a team that will be much more competitive this season.
That’s despite a few injuries, including one last night to youngster Shane Pinto. The rookie won’t play Saturday, so the team is down another center option as they try to navigate the early part of the season without Colin White or Clark Bishop. Even before the game though, the Senators were looking to add a forward. Chris Johnston explained exactly what they’re after on TSN’s Insider Trading:
They would like help down the middle, I think they would even take some help on the wing if that’s what it takes to get this done. They’re looking to add a player to their top-nine who can produce a little offensively, help out their group in that regard.
As for what they might give up, they have 11 draft picks in the upcoming draft plus some prospects, so I think Pierre Dorion is open and shopping, trying to add to his team.
Available players like Dylan Strome and Vitali Kravtsov may fit that bill, though Johnston did not link either one to the Senators. As he touched on, Dorion and the rest of the Ottawa front office could likely get anyone they want given the amount of draft capital they’ve built up over the last few years. Not only does the team already have several top picks in place, but those 11 selections this season would be an easy start for any trade negotiations. Six of them are in the first three rounds, meaning they wouldn’t be taking themselves out of the picture at next year’s draft by moving one or two.
There is also the situation regarding Erik Brannstrom, who has been the center of trade speculation for some time now. The 22-year-old defenseman finds himself in the minor leagues still two and a half years after being the centerpiece of the Mark Stone deal. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but not enough consistency for the Senators coaching staff to trust him to this point. If the team moves on some forward help, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see Brannstrom involved in the deal.