Senators News: September 30th

-It has been a weird day as the Sens make their final roster cut by sending Mika Zibanejad down to Binghamton; it’s impossible to not see this as a financial move given Melnyk’s comments that the team was already over budget yesterday.  While the much cheaper Jean-Gabriel Pageau outplayed Zibanejad in the pre-season, that’s not the case for Stephane Da Costa (or the bench-warming weight of Matt Kassian).  It’s transparent enough that even Ken Warren figured it out.  I agree with Travis Yost that the demotion will only be temporary; as he says:

he team has to figure out what they want to do with Da Costa

That does seem to be the crux of the move.  I imagine Da Costa will have a short (5-10 game) stay with the team after which he’ll either be moved or sent down to Binghamton.  Looking at the move from the team’s perspective it’s not going to help Ottawa–Zibanejad is just too good a player to not suit up.

-I did not see either of the Sens split squad games against the Islanders yesterday, but Ottawa dropped both (5-2 in Barrie and 4-1 in Ottawa).  Both Pageau and Cory Conacher scored in seeking the coveted Brandon Bochenski trophy; I think the latter scored more, but honestly I’m not sure.

Varada worries about pre-season statistics and how they impact the regular season.  There used to be a bevy of articles each year that looked at how team performances compared them to the regular season, but those seem out of fashion these days.  To ease Varada’s mind I’ll give him someone else who netted himself a Bochenski trophy for the purpose of comparison: Mariusz Czerkawski (yes, the same guy who scored back-to-back 30 goal seasons on awful Islander teams) had a dynamite pre-season with Montreal in 2002, but wound up with Hamilton after a dismal half-season in the NHL.  Czerkawski was a decent enough NHL-player (unlike Bochenski), but the point is that production in the pre-season is largely irrelevant to the actual season.  Players aren’t facing full NHL rosters, consistent NHL goaltending, or veterans giving their full effort–it’s just not good grounds for comparison.

The Silver Seven staff make trade-bait predictions and the only names that come up consistently are Zack Smith and Joe Corvo–at least with the latter I imagine there will be calls to move him throughout the season.

-Former Sens prospect Emil Sandin was released by Almtuna (his Allsvenskan) team–apparently by mutual consent.

-I updated my Eye on Europe article from March (looking at the undrafted free agent pool in Europe)–a couple of players have been signed from the list.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



  1. I am not buying the financial argument honestly. Specifically, this was not just about money but a reflection of Zjad’s camp. 1/2 of Zjad’s 1.7 salary is performance bonuses (which he likely was not going to hit as a 3rd line center anyway) and 92, 500 per year is a pre-paid signing bonus, Zjad’s salary is only about 820,000 grand. fairly close to the NHL minimum of 575, 000.

    Da Costa’s salary? 850,000 in the NHL. They cost basically the same as NHLer’s. How well did the centers play in camp out of the young centers? Turris (lock) Pageau, Da Costa, Zjad in that order.

    Hell Murray just came out on the radio and admitted Pageau and Da Costa outplayed Zjad for the spot, and given his contract, it only then makes sense to send Zjad down, no point in paying an NHL salary to a 4th liner who could play 1st line minutes in BIngo for 70,000.

    Having said all this, you an Yost are right in that Zjad will not be down for long and this all hinges on how Da Costa plays/is handled by the org.

    • you and Yost*

    • It is about the money–the Sens have the roster space for him, but sent him down to save his (meagre) NHL salary. With MZ they have the 27th highest payroll in the NHL, without him it’s the 28th. MZ is a better player than both JGP and SDC, although JGP had a better camp. Murray has to say it’s about performance–anything else insults both MZ and SDC/JPG. This is about the internal budget and about not losing SDC for nothing.

      • The lowest cost option would be to send down both Zibanejad and Pageau/DaCosta and keep O’Brien on the roster – they are currently paying JOBs full salary to play in the AHL.

        JOB on the 4th line swapping in and out with Kassian would not be horrendous — could be argued to be as good a line-up as putting DaCosta on the 4th line with Neil and Smith (today’s practise lines).

        So, to me any theory that this is all “about money” would need to explain why that didn’t happen.

      • The organisation is saying Zibanejad was sent to Binghamton only because of performance–that’s simply not true. Bob McKenzie and others have reported it’s at least partially financial, so the fact that finances were involved in the equation is without question. To me, the idea that either Pageau or Da Costa are better players than Zibanejad borders on the absurd, but the team doesn’t want to lose Da Costa for nothing so they hope to derive some value out of him rather than risk waivers. That’s my opinion–you can disagree with it and that’s fine–but I don’t see any clear evidence that refutes the idea.

  2. When did McKenzie report that the Zibanejad demotion was financially motivated? I missed that.

    Obviously if a connected guy like him is relaying inside info then that trumps any speculation by everyone else.

    • It was Tweeted out last night (McKenzie said it on air)–he didn’t say it was *only* financially motivated, just that it was a factor.

  3. […] Senators News: September 30th […]

  4. […] -Yost likes what he’s seen from the Sens other than their penalty killing, where he believes Eric Gryba‘s absence can’t be replaced, but he’s a detriment outside the PK.  Scott thinks Erik Karlsson isn’t himself and believes it may be months before he is; Matt Kassian doesn’t deter anything; and Elliotte Friedman has finally figured out Mika Zibanejad‘s demotion was money-related. […]

  5. […] Da Costa move (presumably he is Bingo-bound) confirms my prediction that he would only remain with the Sens during their Western road trip.  No word on Zibanejad, […]

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