With just 14 days left until the trade deadline, the Ottawa Senators could be saying goodbye to Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ron Hainsey, Dylan Demelo, Mark Borowiecki, and Vladislav Namestnikov as head coach D.J. Smith and general manager Pierre Dorion make room for younger players. The Senators rank 29th overall with 147 goals, so it’s safe to say that the 2020-21 season will again be focused on youth development and rebuilding. With Pageau, Hainsey, Demelo, Borowiecki, and Namestnikov all becoming unrestricted free agents (UFAs) this offseason, we have to ask if Ottawa will re-sign any of these players or trade them for draft picks or prospects.
Jean Gabriel Pageau
Since he began his NHL career in Ottawa eight years ago, Pageau has put up 175 points. His ice time has increased each season, a reflection of his seniority and experience. With this increase in ice time, Pageau has slapped 791 shots on net with an average shooting percentage of 10.5%. When considering whether or not to re-sign or trade the 27-year-old, management must determine if they can afford another contract or if bringing in a couple younger players will collectively produce more offense at a more affordable price.
So far this season, Pageau has fallen behind Drake Batherson and Nick Paul in faceoff wins. Pageau has a 52.4% success rate while Batherson and Paul have an 80% and 54.4% average, respectively. Additionally, with 177 giveaways over Pageau’s Ottawa career, he has cost the team more goals than he produced. Given Smith’s defense-minded coaching, Pageau may not be the best player to satisfy the Senators’ needs. They need to increase puck possession and power play opportunities, and trading Pageau could bring in a first or second-round pick and prospect in return.
In the 2018-19 season, the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings made a trade involving a player who performed similarly to Pageau. On Feb. 25 2019, the Sharks acquired forward Gustav Nyquist from the Red Wings for a 2019 second-round draft pick and a 2020 conditional third-round pick. Although Nyquist slightly out-performed Pageau in shots over an eight-year period, the Senators should expect a similar deal.
With 47 game and only 11 points in all of 2019-20, the 38-year-old Hainsey should be moved. His prime hockey days look like they have come to an end, and he only has 32 shots on net this season with a shooting percentage of 3.1%. As the team’s shooting percentage struggles at 0.06% below the league average, Smith should be on the hunt for players who are eager to rip shots on net.
Considering Hainsey’s age and performance, Ottawa can expect a third-round pick and low prospect if traded. Last season, the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils made a similar trade that involved a veteran player. Ben Lovejoy was acquired by the Stars for defenseman Connor Carrick and a third-round draft pick; a similar deal involving Hainsey could improve the defense.
Defenseman Demelo has played poorly this season with only one goal and 10 assists. He leads Senators defensemen with 29 penalty minutes alongside Borowiecki and Thomas Chabot. Averaging 19:56 per game, one would expect him to have more than 57 shots on net over 44 games.
With this in mind, the Senators should consider trading Demelo for a second-round pick as his age (26 years old) and experience could attract teams focused on strengthening their blue line.
After nine seasons in Ottawa, it may be time for Borowiecki to move on. Ripping 62 shots on net, he has put up a career-high 18 points over a 52-game period. However, at 30 years old, he may be no longer fit with the Senators as players like 23-year-old defenseman Chabot have outshined him with 142 shots on net and 30 points over a 54-game period. Management has to consider bringing in a player that is better suited to the team. In the event of a trade, the Senators could use Borowiecki’s experience and physicality to obtain a fourth-round pick and low prospect.
In 2019, the Stars acquired defenseman Jamie Oleksiak from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Considering that both Borowiecki and Oleksiak have led their teams in penalty minutes while producing few points, the Senators can expect to make a similar deal.
After leaving the Feb. 4 game against the Anaheim Ducks with a lower-body injury, teams will not be jumping at the opportunity to obtain Namestnikov by the trade deadline. At 27 years old, he is Ottawa’s fourth-best point producing center with 11 goals and 11 assists. He averages 15:04 of ice time per game, but his exact role is unclear as he leads the team’s centers with 33 penalty minutes and is a minus-six over a 48-game period.
Considering Namestnikov’s age, his injury status and seven years of NHL experience, the Senators could propose a trade similar to the 2018-19 Boston Bruins and Devils deal involving Marcus Johansson. The two players are close in age and and produce similarly. In the event of a trade, the Senators could ask for a 2020 second-round pick and 2021 fourth-round pick in return.