Sens at the Trade Deadline

I went over the Duchene trade right after it happened, but the dealing wasn’t done and I wanted review the rest of what Pierre Dorion accomplished. We’ll go from the smallest to largest trades:

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Patrick Sieloff (AHL 45-1-8-9) to Anaheim for Brian Gibbons (NHL 44-2-3-5)

Spare part for spare part, but Sieloff (acquired from Calgary in the Chiasson trade) is a dead end player–probably best known for essentially ending Clarke MacArthur’s career. He peaked as a prospect with the Flames; a solid PKer with no offensive abilities and term left on his deal (I mentioned in the off-season that re-signing him was a mistake). In Gibbons the Sens acquired an undrafted, 31-year old college grad whose performance has been in decline for quite some time–a spare part the team isn’t committed too.

Assessment: It’s a good move–there’s simply no room for Sieloff on the BSens roster, so keeping him would be pointless.

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Ryan Dzingel (57-22-22-44) and a 2019 7th to Columbus for Anthony Duclair (53-11-8-19) and two 2nds (2020, 2021)

I was surprised how happy most Sens fans were waiving goodbye to Dzingel; Nichols broke down the stats for Dzingel, but not Duclair in his analysis, which was disappointing (you can find that info here). The consensus seems to be that Dzingel has been benefiting from linemates and a high shooting percentage, and that, even if Duclair (whose rights the Sens control at season’s end) bombs out, they have two picks to play with.

Assessment: Duclair does not replace Dzingel, so despite the latter’s expiring contract the trade boils down to the picks. We have a limited track record for Dorion’s 2nd-rounders: his first (Gabriel Gagne) was an expensive bust, the second (Jonathan Dahlen) was traded away for Alex Burrows–since then there’s been a declining perception of his potential. Fans are happy with Alex Formenton (concerns about his offensive potential remain), but it’s far too early to judge Jonny Tychonick. It’s safe to say none of the first three players is Dzingel’s equivalent, although one can certainly hope for Tychonick. If either future pick turns out to be a good player, this is a win–if not, the trade isn’t terrible since Dzingel is a rental, but it’s still not value-for-value.

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Mark Stone (59-28-34-62) and Tobias Lindberg (AHL 44-5-7-12) to Las Vegas for Erik Brannstrom (AHL 41-7-21-28), Oscar Lindberg (35-4-8-12), and Dallas’ 2020 2nd-rounder.

There’s no question Vegas got the best player, although they need to re-sign him to get the most out of the trade. Lindberg is an unremarkable player on an expiring contract, so it’s really down to the pick (see above for Dorion’s 2nds) and Brannstrom. The Swede (1-15/17) was highly touted going into his draft, but concerns about his size pinned him to the middle of the first round. The question that is yet unanswered is what his offensive potential will be at the NHL-level

Assessment: If Brannstrom is as Pronman suggests (the link)–an all-around top-four blueliner–that’s a very weak return for a player like Mark Stone. The Sens really need to maximize the pick as well as get a lot from Brannstrom to make this trade tolerable.

One of the most interesting things to me from the slate of recent moves is that Dorion has acquired a lot of smaller players. I applaud the change, as the Sens have notoriously overvalued bigger players. With that said, let’s combine the various component parts of all these deals:

Erik Brannstrom (1-15/17; ELC, AHL)
Vitali Abramov (3-65/16; ELC, AHL)
Jonathan Davidsson (6-170/17; ELC, SHL)
Anthony Duclair (3-80/13; upcoming RFA)
Oscar Lindberg (27; expiring contract)
Brian Gibbons (31; expiring contract)
1st – 2019 (Clb)*
2nd – 2020 (Clb, Dal), 2021 (Clb)

Julius Bergman (23, expiring contract)
Tobias Lindberg (23, expiring contract)
Patrick Sieloff (24, signed for 19/20)
Mark Stone (26, expiring contract)
Ryan Dzingel (26, expiring contract)
Matt Duchene (28, expiring contract)
7th (2019)

*There are a billion conditions on this one, but this is the most likely result

The Sens have collected a lot of assets–three prospects and a young player whose rights they control, along with four high (but not top) picks. Abstractly this would be great, but they are losing two first-line forwards along with a player who has at least produced in the top-six. There’s nothing on their plate that replaces that nor are their picks so high that you can be sure such replacements are coming. Could the org package some of these picks to move up, like they did for Gabriel Gagne or Matt Puempel? Of course, but from those examples we can see that there are no guarantees.

I said on trade day that I thought Dorion lost all three trades–I may have been a little harsh–but on the scale of quality vs quality, all are absolutely losses in the short term and the odds suggest that the Sens will never get equal value back in the long term either. It’s admittedly not that simple–the Sens painted themselves into a corner with three players who were going to walk, so given the circumstances it’s not a terrible return. However, this position–top players on expiring contracts who will walk–is the scenario Dorion put himself in. The Melnykian budget isn’t new or a surprise; the scenario of the Sens bottoming out and needing a rebuild was foreseen by some of us long ago. In essence, the org is the one who put a gun to its head. It all boils down to Dorion habitually overvaluing the talent on hand (along with some fundamental misunderstandings of the modern game).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



1 Comment

  1. […] Draft: highly touted going into his draft, but concerns about his size pinned him to the middle of the first round. The question that is yet unanswered is what his offensive potential will be at the NHL-level. Pronman saw him as an all-around top-four blueliner, although there are scouts who have him pegged higher than that. I tend to aim more conservatively with my expectations, so top-four is where I’d project him until we see something more. Ary points out that he wasn’t given top minutes while in AHL Chicago, but when he was in his brief tenure with Belleville, we didn’t see an offensive explosion (granting that the blueline there wasn’t very good). […]

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