Brown, Zaitsev To Ottawa
One of the first major trades to discuss that was not a selling move was the one that brought forward Connor Brown to the Ottawa Senators. This was the first trade in years made by Dorion where he was acquiring a player who would be able to improve the NHL roster. Brown was coming off a solid year with the Leafs, however the team was cap crunched so they decided to shed the Nikita Zaitsev contract with Connor Brown being the deal sweetener.
In exchange for Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev and Michael Carcone, the Senators traded defenders Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, forward Aaron Luchuk and a third to the Maple Leafs. None of the aforementioned players would have much of a positive impact for either team, aside from Connor Brown.
Zaitsev was not brought in to be a valuable asset to the team, he struggled to defend NHL forwards and was undoubtedly overpaid. The Senators deserved a better trade package given the price tag that came with Nikita Zaitsev. He was later flipped to the Blackhawks for a package that was centered around a second round pick.
Looking at the trade in retrospect it aged quite poorly for the Senators. Brown was a great player for the Sens who provided at both ends of the ice. His work ethic aligned perfectly with the culture the Sens were cultivating within the organization and he helped young players like Brady Tkachuk develop into stars. However taking on the Zaitsev contract was a big mistake, and using assets to dump him further down the line made the trade look worse than originally thought, especially after flipping Brown for a second. Overall, I would give this trade a C+ for Dorion, it wasn’t the worst move ever but Zaitsev really handcuffed the team.
Pageau To New York
The trade that sent Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders in February 2020 was one of the final significant moves the Senators made in their rebuild. At the time of the trade, Pageau was a successful two-way forward and a fan favourite, he had been a staple of the Senators lineup for several seasons. However, as the Senators finalized their years as a seller, it became evident that they needed to capitalize on Pageau’s value and acquire some last minute valuable assets for the future.
In exchange for the center, the Senators received a first-round pick in 2020, a second-round pick in 2020, and a conditional third-round pick in 2022 which they did not receive because the condition was not met. At the time of the trade, it was seen as a great return for Pageau, and that has stayed true to today.
The trade provided the Senators with valuable draft capital, which they would go on to use to bolster their prospect pool and finalize their major rebuilding efforts. The first-round pick they acquired ultimately became prospect Ridly Greig, who has shown great promise at every level he has played at. Greig is looking to earn a full time roster spot this season, and in my opinion he has a great shot at doing so after performing quite well in his NHL games this year.
Additionally, the second-round pick acquired in the trade was flipped further down the line for the Senators to draft Tyler Kleven. Even though it is still very early, this looks like a great move that the Senators made as Tyler Kleven has been very impressive in the little time he has spent with the organization. He, like Greig, is looking to earn a spot on the NHL squad this season and he has a legitimate shot at doing so.
Pierre Dorion did a great job with this trade as well as with the assets acquired in it. The two picks that Dorion acquired appear to have turned into valuable pieces for the future of the team. Both Ridly Greig and Tyler Kleven have a shot at making the team at a very young age, and given what we have seen from both players, it looks like the Sens have two guys who will make a solid impact for years to come. A+ for Pierre on this one.