Over the past 19 months, the Ottawa Senators have undergone the biggest overhaul in club history. Some of the departures – particularly Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and J.G. Pageau – were painful and unpopular. But the Senators got more than a little something for their trouble. Other teams not only gave these players massive UFA deals (some of them already looking ill-advised), they also topped up the Sens prospect pool and stuffed their pockets with draft picks.
These assets will be the foundational footings of this rebuild and the success of these trades means everything. Today, just for fun, we look back at some of the most successful trades in Ottawa Senators history.
December 19, 1992. The Senators acquire forwards Bob Kudelski and Shawn McCosh from Los Angeles for Marc Fortier and Jim Thomson. After this deal, no one went on to play more than 15 career games in the NHL. Well, except for Kudelski, who put up 76 points in 90 games with Ottawa. He was on a 50 goal pace when he was dealt to Florida midway through the following season.
June 20th, 2008. On draft day, the Senators send a third-rounder to Nashville to swap first-round picks with them. The Senators moved from 18th to 15th pick to draft Erik Karlsson, the greatest defenceman in their history. This deal would be ranked higher if we knew for sure some team truly had plans to take Karlsson before the 18th pick.
February 18th, 2011. The Senators acquire Craig Anderson from Colorado for Brian Elliott in a one for one goalie swap. Both goalies have had an impressive decade since the trade, generally posting excellent numbers, each taking their teams to a conference final. Both goalies were well served by a change of address and it’s always a great trade when it brings you the finest goalie your franchise’s history.
February 26th, 2012. The Senators acquire goalie Ben Bishop from St. Louis for a second-rounder. Yes, Bishop wasn’t here long and, yes, they blew it by shipping Bishop to Tampa for Cory Conacher. It definitely sullies the memory of this great trade. But it was still a good one. At 33, Bishop is still a star today, 8 years later.
June 22nd, 1996. The Sens pick up Shawn McEachern from Boston for Trent McCleary and a 3rd round pick. As Ottawa started to get good in the late 90’s, McEachern was a top six forward for them, scoring 304 points in 454 games. McCleary, meanwhile, was a fourth-liner who would go on to score 9 points in 117 games before his career was halted by a terrible injury after taking a slapshot to the throat.
June 19th 1999. Ottawa finally acquires a true number one goalie, getting Patrick Lalime from Anaheim for a song. They give up Ted Donato and the rights to Antti-Jusi Niemi. Niemi played a few games with the Ducks before returning to Europe for good while Donato’s best years were behind him. Certainly Game 7 against Toronto will never be forgotten. Those two horrible, carbon-copied Joe Nieuwendyk goals will always haunt Senators’ fans. But Lalime had plenty of great performances and numbers over his five years here, including the amazing run to the 2003 Eastern Conference Final.
February 23rd, 2019. With unrestricted free agency looming, the Sens trade forward Ryan Dzingel to Columbus for Anthony Duclair and two second round draft picks. In his first “full” season with the Sens, Duclair is their leading goal scorer with 23 goals. Dzingel is Carolina’s 10th best sniper with only 8. One for one, that’s already advantage Sens. But then the Jackets decided to just donate two second rounders to Ottawa on top of that? If you insist…
December 17th, 2011. Ottawa gets Kyle Turris for David Rundblad and a second rounder. It’s rare for a team to have a chance to mitigate an earlier miskate but the Sens did just that. They originally gave up a first rounder to get Rundblad then soon realized he wasn’t worth that so they found a taker in Arizona. The Coyotes wanted to move on from Turris, a highly touted but underachiveing third year player who’d been giving them contractual headaches. Rundblad was used sparingly in Arizona and Chicago and now plays in the KHL. Turris emerged as a popular top two centre in Ottawa for six and a half seasons, scoring 274 points in 407 games here.
September 13th, 2018. The Senators trade Erik Karlsson to San Jose for Josh Norris, a 2020 first rounder, Chris Tierney, Rudolfs Balcers and Dylan DeMelo. Karlsson is beloved in Ottawa but his game is not what it was. He also turns 30 this month and injuries have become a major issue. So ask yourself these questions: If you could, would you bring Karlsson back to Ottawa? Would you want to pay him $11.5 million dollars (average) over each of the next 7 years? Would you then give up Norris and Balcers, who ripped up the AHL last season and Tierney who’s a solid 2 way centre? Would you dump that first rounder too, which could be the first overall pick this summer? If you hate the idea of undoing this deal, and I think you do, then you now understand why it ranks so high on this list.
June 23rd 2001. Ottawa acquires Zdeno Chara, a 2001 first rounder (Jason Spezza) and Bill Muckalt for Alexei Yashin. Let’s make one thing clear. Yashin was a great player who got a lot of bad advice. That led to repeated squabbles with the Sens, including sitting out an entire season. Ottawa got Yashin’s best years, but the Islanders figured he had a lot left and paid dearly to acquire him. Ottawa ended up with a high scoring first-line centre and a physically dominant number one defenceman.
Easily the best of the best.