With the NHL trade deadline looming, the Ottawa Senators are still trying to decide if they’re buyers or sellers.
Or put it another way, they’re still trying to decide if it’s worth giving up future assets to bring in players who can help them make a playoff push right now.
On Sunday, right before pounding St. Louis 7-2, the Sens began to sort out their sizeable list of pending unrestricted free agents, trading winger Tyler Motte to the New York Rangers for Julien Gauthier.
Trade announcement: The #Sens have acquired forward Julien Gauthier and a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2023 from the @NYRangers in exchange for forward Tyler Motte. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/rTXRCUWUH1
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 19, 2023
Heading into the deadline March 3rd, this represents the perfect kind of deal for Senators GM Pierre Dorion. Along with teammates Travis Hamonic, Cam Talbot, Nick Holden, Austin Watson, and Derick Brassard, Motte was in the final year of his contract, about to become a UFA. Dorion was able to get something for him, without worsening the roster or affecting this year’s playoff chances. Gauthier is a 25 year old winger and a former first rounder. His upside includes:
- He’s about to be an RFA so he’s still under club control.
- He was only pulling 8 minutes of ice time per night in New York and still had 6 goals in 40 games, 3 more than Motte had in 39.
- At 6-4, 224 pounds, he’s a big man who skates well.
- He briefly played junior with both Chabot and Joseph. So the Sens have good intel on Gauthier’s character.
- 6 goals on just 36 shots is pretty solid finishing ability. Only Stutzle has a better shooting percentage than Gauthier.
“He’s a big guy, fast guy, and can skate really well,” Chabot said. “Obviously a great guy off the ice, I think he’s going to fit right along in this locker room.”
In his Senators debut Monday against Boston, Gauthier wore number 77 and opened up on a line with Parker Kelly and Ridly Greig. Gauthier had two shots on goal and 9:57 of ice time.
Sens Quickies: The Senators have sent defensemen Dillon Heatherington, Jacob Larsson, and goalie Kevin Mandolese to Belleville. It sounds like Talbot’s return from injury is imminent…After a good test Monday against Boston, the NHL’s top ranked team, the Sens now get another good test Friday at Carolina against the #2 ranked Hurricanes…Tim Stützle was named the NHL First star of the Week for the period ending Sunday. He’s now the team’s points per game leader with 59 points in 52 games. Last week, he had four goals and six assists for a whopping ten points while helping the team go 3-0-1. Since January 1st, Stutzle is the NHL’s fifth best scorer, and his development has been in full blossom all season long.
By Steve Warne