December 31-in-31: Ottawa Senators

Tony Ferrari

2020-12-21

Photo Courtesy of the Ottawa Senators

 

Typically a summer series, the December 31-in-31 series is taking place of the annual August 31-in-31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the NHL season back to the summer, making for an atypical fall offseason.  December will feature part two of the 31-in-31 series and focus on the team’s depth charts, fantasy outlook, and begin to look at how the roster will shakedown when the next NHL season starts. The November edition of the series focused on the 2020 NHL Draft and the team’s off-season acquisitions through free agency and trades and how they affect the development paths for the team’s prospects.

 

The futility is finally paying off. Too harsh? Maybe, but the Senators have had a rough go of it since the 2017 Eastern Conference finals. Immediately becoming a bottom-end team, the Senators have taken a long and winding road to what has become a steady and solid rebuild. Most teams do things in a fairly simple and straightforward manner in a rebuild. Realize you’re bad, get worse by trading for picks, use those picks to play the lottery in the middle rounds of the draft, hit on your top picks each year. The Senators aren’t most teams. So before we can evaluate the offseason and get to what they’ve done for their prospect pool, it seems necessary to lay out how they got there.

 

November 5, 2017: Matt Duchene Trade 

This set the table for everything to come after. This trade was made at a time when the Senators were coming off an improbable conference final run and a hot start to the season despite analytics showing that they were likely not going to be able to keep up the facade. The price was an impediment to a team that would be in a rebuild by season’s end. Shane Bowers, a first-round pick in either 2018 or 2019 (They kept the 2018 pick and took Brady Tkachuk), Kyle Turris and Andrew Hammond were all exiting the Canadian capital with just Duchene coming in.

 

February 26, 2018: Trade Deadline sell-off

The Senators had realized the error in their belief that they were a contending team and began the sell-off. Trading Derek Brassard and flipping Ian Cole were smart moves that brought in some assets that were desperately needed. Finishing the day with Pittsburgh’s 2018 first-rounder and possible goaltender of the future, Filip Gustavsson, the Sens began to look to the future.

 

June 19, 2020: Mike Hoffman Trade(s)

The situation had clearly gone too far and there were fences that were unable to be mended. For the details on why Hoffman had to go, you can check out the Ottawa Citizen report. Why this is significant was that the Senators looked to have been fleeced by the San Jose Sharks. Here’s how it went down. The Senators traded Hoffman, Cody Donaghey, and a 2020 5th round pick to the Sharks for Mikael Boedker, Julius Bergman, and a 2020 sixth-round pick. Just hours later, the Sharks flipped Hoffman to the Panthers for a 20