With the Ottawa Senators on their bye-week, general manager Pierre Dorion is certainly not taking a vacation. The GM must start making decisions about the avenue his club will be taking in the coming weeks as the trade deadline begins to loom closer. After a lackluster start of the season, especially after the team acquired center Matt Duchene from Colorado, the team must decide whether they plan to blow the team up or just make a couple tweaks to their roster.
The Ottawa Citizen’s Bruce Garrioch writes that blowing the team up is unlikely, but writes Dorion has spent quite a bit of time with team scouts to try to figure out what has gone wrong and what the best course of action should be for the franchise. The scribe suggests the team is unlikely to tear down the entire team, but writes that several players are likely heading out of Ottawa by the deadline. While Dorion remains realistic about his team’s playoff chances, the team remains just nine games out of a playoff spot and have had some recent success before the break, so it’s unlikely any deal would be made soon in case the team can turn its fortunes around.
Garrioch believes that forward Mike Hoffman is the most likely candidate to be traded as the interest in him is quite high. Despite his recent chemistry with Duchene, the scribe believes that a top-six winger should get a good return for the team, whether that be in prospects, picks or both. The 28-year-old has had three straight 25+ goal seasons and still has two years remaining after this one on his contract for a $5.19MM AAV. Hoffman currently has 11 goals and 29 points in 42 games. The money the team would save from moving Hoffman could be used to lock up Mark Stone, who the franchise has deemed untouchable along with defenseman Erik Karlsson. Veteran Derick Brassard is also not going anywhere.
Zack Smith’s contract and hard-nosed style has also drawn many calls from other teams, while Garrioch adds that defenseman Johnny Oduya and fourth-liner Alexandre Burrows are veterans and have received some attention as well. The 29-year-old Smith still has three years on his $3.25MM AAV deal, which isn’t too high of a price for a solid center. The 36-year-old Oduya has been solid on the team’s third pairing, but has more than 100 games of playoff experience, while the 36-year-old Burrows has 85 games of playoff experience as well. Garrioch does suggest that while youngster Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a trade candidate, it’s unlikely that he will be traded as he’s still a quality young player.