Ottawa Senators forward Connor Brown didn’t have his most productive goal-scoring season, with only 10 in 64 games, but that didn’t stop him from having yet another solid campaign with the Senators. Despite the decline in goals, Brown’s point production remained in line with what’s typically expected of him, his .609 points-per-game this past season being nearly identical to his points-per-game marks from 2020-21 (.625) and 2019-20 (.605). In addition to that steady points production, Brown has been an important leadership figure on a young Senators team, providing the sort of two-way hockey that coaches can fall in love with. Now, one year away from a trip to unrestricted free agency, it seems Brown is looking to cash in.
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Brown is “thinking about testing the market” next summer. Accordingly, Friedman notes that this news “punts the ball” into the Senators’ hands in terms of whether they should trade Brown to maximize the long-term value they can gain from him. With comparable players such as Blake Coleman or Artturi Lehkonen returning first-round picks or strong prospects in their own trades, the Senators could prefer a package similar to what the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils received for those players rather than risk letting Brown walk. Brown is on a $3.6MM cap hit, and he could become an especially desirable trade asset if the Senators offered to retain salary on him as well.
On other teams from the Eastern Conference:
- Jesper Bratt has become a focal point of many discussions over the past week, with conflicting reports on whether he’d be a prime candidate to be traded this summer. The Devils’ breakout winger, who was nearly point-per-game this year, is a pending restricted free agent, and some, including Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, have speculated that he could have priced himself off of a team that is reportedly looking for more “hard skill” this offseason. Friedman, though, pumps the breaks a bit on that conversation. According to Friedman, Bratt and the Devils’ last contract negotiation was “a tough one,” and that both sides “really grinded” each other in the process. So, Friedman believes that, knowing how hard the last negotiation was between the team and player, “everybody’s kind of preparing for a tough one” this summer, and Bratt’s name surfacing in potential trade rumors is simply a natural part of a cutthroat negotiation process. That explanation would make a lot of sense since it’s hard to see the Devils, who still have a lot of room to work with under the salary cap, send away their team’s leading scorer just as he’s coming into his own as a superstar player.
- Brian Burke, the President of Hockey Operations of the Pittsburgh Penguins, gave a wide-ranging interview to Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Among many topics he covered, one of the more interesting nuggets from the interview came when he was asked about the large number of coaching vacancies across the league. Burke spoke about the leaguewide vacancies, saying that, generally speaking, NHL clubs’ “ownership and management are too impatient on the coaching front.” He also reiterated his faith in coach Mike Sullivan, stating that they were “thrilled” with his work and view him as one of the best coaches in the NHL. So while some aggressively change-oriented fans might want to see a different coach behind the bench of the Penguins, who have not won a playoff series in four seasons, it doesn’t look like they’ll get their wish as long as the two-time Stanley Cup champion wants to coach in Pittsburgh.