With two weeks until the NHL trade deadline, this is when the action gets hot and heavy. Most of the time big names get traded before the deadline and this year is no different. As a matter fact, trades involving big name players are usually kept secret until the deal is finalized. That is exactly what happened Tuesday night.
Per Darren Dreger of TSN the Ottawa Senators traded Dion Phaneuf and Nate Thompson to the Los Angeles Kings for Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore. Ottawa will retain 25 percent of Phaneuf’s salary in the trade.
Phaneuf and Thompson for Gaborik and Shore. Sens retain 25% of Phaneuf salary.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 14, 2018
As most trades, it takes two teams to tango. The Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings had been talking for some time about being dance partners, but the trade had to be right for both teams. As Pierre LeBrun of TSN points out, this trade does not happen without the Senators taking on Gaborik’s contract.
Kings and Senators have been talking on and off for a bit on a Phaneuf deal but source says Ottawa agreeing to take Gaborik in the deal was obviously “huge.” Deal doesn’t happen otherwise
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 14, 2018
For a team that wants to shed salary, this is sure a curious move. In fact, if you break down the numbers, the Senators would not shed as much salary as they want with this trade. Ottawa will not only eat $5.25 million of the $21 million owed to Dion Phaneuf over the next three years, but pick up Gaborik’s contract. Interestingly enough Gaborik will earn $4.875 million over the next three seasons. Obviously this move clears cap space for a spot on the roster.
With Pierre Dorion being signed to a three-year contract extension, owner Eugene Melenyk has given his blessing on a rebuild. Clearly the Senators are not the team of year’s past. As one of the teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, look for Ottawa to make other trades going forward.
Coming into the NHL trade deadline, the Senators have assets contending teams could use come the playoffs. Two players that come to mind are Mike Hoffman and Derrick Brassard. If Ottawa chooses to move both of these players, the asking price will be a lot more. Something in the neighborhood of a first or second round draft pick along with a prospect or two. Nothing is off the table for the Senators.
As for Phaneuf, he played just four shifts in the second period during the Senators game against the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night. With the third period about to start, Phaneuf was not on the Senators bench. Coming into play Tuesday, Phaneuf had three goals and 13 assists in 52 games this season. Over 13 NHL seasons, Phaneuf has 133 goals and 345 assists.
Throughout the course of his career, Phaneuf has played for the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs prior to coming to Ottawa. The last time Phaneuf switched teams, he was traded mid-season from the Leafs to the Senators in February 2016.
As for Nate Thompson, he was in his first season with the Sens after signing a two-year, $3.3-million contract on the first day of free agency in 2017. Thompson, 33, heads back to California after having spent the past previous three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks. Entering Tuesday’s game Thompson had 11 points in 43 games with the Senators this season.
Meanwhile, Gaborik has seven goals and seven assists in 29 games this season for the Kings. Gaborik will provide more offense to a team that is clearly needs it. In the coming weeks, it would not surprise anyone if the Senators try to trade Gaborik for draft picks or prospects.
Stay tuned for more as the trading season is upon us.