Latest on the Senators and Sharks – December 14, 2017
Updates on the growing Ottawa Senators trade rumors plus the latest on the San Jose Sharks.
SENATORS SAGA CONTINUES
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion yesterday said he won’t be replacing Guy Boucher as head coach. “Guy was a great coach last year. He got us one goal from the Stanley Cup final. He’s staying,” said Dorion.
However, the Sens GM isn’t ruling out making trades if he feels it will help the team. “We’re looking at everything,” he said. “I think I have talked to 27 or 28 of my 30 (general manager) counterparts in the last three days. We’re looking for solutions. When you go through streaks like this, you have to look at everything.”
Dorion acknowledged he’s got 10-team no-trade lists from his players with no-trade clauses, including captain Erik Karlsson. However, he said the club’s priority is to retain the superstar defenseman for the remainder of his career.
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos said forward Mike Hoffman is the name he’s hearing the most regarding Senators trade speculation and thinks he’ll get traded faster than most.
Jeff Marek asked why not move Karlsson now if they’re not going to re-sign him. He wonders if they could extract more from a team that could have him for the remainder of this season and playoffs plus all of next season, rather than trying to move him before next season’s trade deadline.
Scott Morrison feels the better return could be had in the offseason. Kypreos believes it makes no sense for a team at the bottom of the league to re-sign a soon-to-be 30-year-old player to an eight-year deal worth perhaps $90 million.
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes Hoffman would be a good fit for the Edmonton Oilers to address the need for a skilled shooter on Connor McDavid’s line. However, he’s not certain the Oilers and Senators would be a good trade fit, noting the latter requires defense.
Graeme Nichols makes a deep dive into potential trade value of struggling Senators defenseman Cody Ceci. He points out Ceci’s preceeding three seasons weren’t exactly perfect, noting he had his difficulties even when playing sheltered minutes earlier in his career. With Ceci a restricted free agent next summer coming off a two-year bridge deal (earning $3.35 million in actual salary this season), his contract talks could get troublesome.
Noting speculation that the Colorado Avalanche had interest in Ceci prior to shipping center Matt Duchene to Ottawa, Nichols suggests that doesn’t necessarily mean he would’ve been the centerpiece of the return for a Duchene trade that didn’t happen. It also doesn’t mean Ceci is an untouchable asset for the Senators.
If the Senators put Ceci on the block, Nichols thinks it could take one of three forms. If they’re still hopeful of reaching the playoffs, they could seek an established player in return. It could be a “project-for-project” return, similar to the swap with the Arizona Coyotes in 2011 that brought Kyle Turris to Ottawa. If their eye in on the future, the Sens could seek draft picks and prospects.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know I sound like a broken record, but I don’t see the Senators trading Karlsson before the trade deadline. I believe they want to re-sign him, but if that proves too expensive, the earliest he’s dealt is next summer.
While there will undoubtedly be considerable interest in Karlsson if he was put on the trade block now, I believe teams will be leery about investing too much to land a player who could bolt via free agency in 2019. Those clubs will likely prefer to wait until next summer, when they’ll have the opportunity to request permission from the Sens to discuss a contract extension with Karlsson before giving up quality assets to acquire him.
If the Sens intend to make moves before the trade deadline, Hoffman and Ceci are the more likely trade candidates. I agree with Mitchell that Hoffman could be a good fit on the McDavid line but I don’t see a deal there unless Dorion can pull off another three-team move. Despite Ceci’s struggles, I think he still has value among clubs seeking young blueliners with potential. He still has room to improve and could blossom on a better club.
LATEST ON THE SHARKS
THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz said he considers San Jose Sharks backup goaltender Aaron Dell among the club’s few tradeable assets that they might be willing to part with to acquire some scoring. That being said, he thinks “there’s no way in hell” the Sharks trade Dell, suggesting he’ll likely re-sign with the Sharks this summer.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports Sharks GM Doug Wilson said he has no intention of trading away his key young core players for a quick fix before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Wilson feels questions about his current roster could come into greater focus once everyone is healthy. Pashelka noted young players such as Chris Tierney, Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan have taken advantage of opportunities provided because of injuries to veterans this season. However, Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier have been less consistent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson has a well-earned reputation for being among the busiest general managers leading up to the NHL trade deadline. I’ll be surprised if he stays quiet this season. He’ll obviously remain patient with his roster for now but I expect he’ll look at making moves within a month of the deadline, depending upon his roster needs, the number of quality players available in the trade market and the respective asking prices for those players.
I expect Wilson will look at shopping a prospect or two, rather than established young players. He doesn’t have selections in the second and third rounds of the 2018 draft so I doubt he’ll be shopping draft picks this year.