In this article series I will be breaking down some of the key trades made by Pierre Dorion during the rebuilding era into the current competing era for the Senators. I will look at the timeline of the Senators year by year starting from the end of the 2017 playoff run and will discuss how the trades impacted the team for better or for worse.
Duchene To Ottawa
The first and perhaps most infamous trade to discuss is the Matt Duchene trade that saw Ottawa acquire the centre for Kyle Turris, Andrew Hammond, Shane Bowers, a 2019 first (4th overall) that turned into Bowen Byram, and a 2019 third that turned into Matthew Stienburg.
Duchene performed well during his time in Ottawa, but unfortunately, the trade ultimately turned into a disaster for the Senators. When Duchene arrived in Ottawa in November 2017, he made an immediate impact on the team’s performance. He showcased his offensive skills and became one of the team’s top scorers. Duchene’s contributions on the ice were as advertised, and it seemed like the Senators had acquired a valuable asset who would be able to help them compete once again for the Stanley Cup.
However, the team as a whole struggled during Duchene’s tenure in Ottawa. The Senators went through a turbulent period both on and off the ice. Internal conflicts, organizational instability, and a lack of overall team success plagued the Senators throughout Duchene’s time with the franchise.
The trade also looks worse when you see the cost the Senators paid to acquire Duchene. Of course at the time the pick was not expected to be as high as it was, but nonetheless the Senators sent Bowen Byram, Shane Bowers who at the time was a solid prospect and their first line centre Kyle Turris for what could only be described as a minor upgrade. While hindsight is 20/20, it was definitely viewed as an overpay at the time of the trade, and it is evident that the Senators did indeed grossly overpay for Duchene’s services.
Brassard To Pittsburgh
The next trade to discuss is none other than the move that sent Derrick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This deal proved to be a significant move for the Senators and marked a positive beginning to their rebuilding process. Ottawa was able to fetch a great return for Brassard who was playing at a decent level at the time.
In February 2018, Brassard was traded to the Penguins as part of a multi-player deal. The Senators received several assets in return, including a first-round pick, goaltending prospect Filip Gustavsson, defenseman Ian Cole, and forward Tobias Lindberg. This trade package provided the Senators with several key pieces who would be utilized in their rebuilding process.
The centerpiece of the return was the first-round pick. Ottawa would eventually move this pick to drop a couple of spots in the draft where they would select defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker. Bernard-Docker has since shown promise in his development and has the potential to become an everyday NHL shutdown defender.
Additionally, the acquisition of Filip Gustavsson was a significant boost to the Senators’ goaltending depth chart. Gustavsson was viewed as an elite prospect at the time, and has since showcased his skills as he has become one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. His presence in the organization provided Ottawa with a promising goaltending prospect as they continued to rebuild.
Ian Cole, did not last long as a Senator as he was flipped in a trade to Columbus that brought the Senators a third round pick. This deal was a much better look for Pierre who was able to bring in two assets who had the potential to move the needle for an NHL team.
Hoffman To San Jose
The next trade to discuss is the one that sent Mike Hoffman from the Ottawa Senators to the San Jose Sharks. Ottawa was in an awkward position with Hoffman due to the off-ice situation involving Hoffman and his fiancée’s alleged harassment of teammate Erik Karlsson’s wife. This of course significantly impacted the team’s leverage in making a favourable trade.
The trade took place shortly after the allegations and subsequent fallout became public. The Senators faced a challenging dilemma as they understandably wanted to distance themselves from the controversy and alleviate the locker room tension that had developed. Under these circumstances, Ottawa had extremely limited leverage, which ultimately affected the return they received in the trade.
The Senators acquired Mikkel Boedker, defenseman Julius Bergman, and a sixth-round draft pick from the Sharks in exchange for Hoffman, prospect Cody Donaghey, and a fifth-round draft pick. Unfortunately, none of the assets Ottawa received in return made a significant impact on the team.
Mikkel Boedker, who was the main player acquired in the trade, failed to provide the desired offensive production for the Senators. He struggled to find his scoring touch and did not have much of a positive impact on the game. Boedker’s tenure in Ottawa was underwhelming, and he was eventually moved in a subsequent trade with the Colorado Avalanche.
Julius Bergman, the defenseman acquired in the trade, did not play a single game for the Senators at the NHL level. He spent the majority of his time in the AHL and was eventually traded to the New York Rangers in a minor transaction. Given the circumstances, it is difficult to point the finger at management for this deal. With all of the off-ice situations, this was likely the best deal the Senators could have gotten for Hoffman even though he was worth much more.
First Round Swap
The final trade to discuss for the 2017-2018 season was the move the Senators made with the New York Rangers at the 2018 NHL draft. The Senators sent pick number 22 which they had received from Pittsburgh in the Brassard trade for picks 26 and 48 from the Rangers.
Now it is important to look at this from a trade perspective rather than a drafting perspective. The move was actually quite solid for the team as they acquired a second round pick in order to move down 4 spots in the draft. The Senators showed positive asset management with this move and they ended up selecting JBD (26) and Tychonick (48) with the two picks. From a drafting perspective, the Rangers win this trade hands down as Miller has become a great young defender while the Senators lost Tychonick to free agency and have Bernard-Docker still battling to make the NHL squad. However, the trade itself was actually quite a smart move by management if they still got their preferred guy in JBD.