The Ottawa Senators are fairly well-represented in this year’s NHL playoffs. All but one series has at least one former Senator competing and today, FACES takes a glance at who they are, how they left Ottawa and what the Sens have left to show for it.
Florida vs Boston
Former Sens first-rounder Nick Foligno is now a bottom-six guy in Boston. Now 35, it seems like almost yesterday he scored his first NHL goal for the Sens and leapt into the air like his dad Mike used to do in the NHL. In 2012, the Sens traded Foligno away for Marc Methot, who was claimed in the 2017 Vegas expansion draft.
Florida has Anthony Duclair and Colin White, two players the Sens walked away from. In 2020, the Sens opted not to re-sign Duclair. White was bought out of his contract last year.
Tampa vs Toronto
The Leafs have goalie Matt Murray, who’s been every bit as inconsistent and injury prone as he was in Ottawa. The Sens traded Murray to Toronto and had to throw in sweeteners to get them to bite. The Leafs acquired Murray, two Sens draft picks and Ottawa agreed to pay 25% of his salary.
Tampa has Nick Paul, acquired from Ottawa last year, straight up for Mathieu Joseph. They also have backup goalie Brian Elliott, still going at 38. He was acquired in 2011, straight up for Craig Anderson who retired last week. Elliott isn’t far behind.
New York Islanders vs Carolina
J.G. Pageau is still going strong for the Islanders. He was traded at the 2020 deadline for first and second-round picks. The Sens only hung on to the first (the second went to Pittsburgh in the Matt Murray deal) and used it to draft a very nice prospect in Ridly Greig.
The ‘Canes have Derek Stepan, who played only 20 mostly ineffective games here before leaving in free agency in 2021. They also have Stefan Noesen, a former Sens first-rounder who was traded to Anaheim in the 2013 Bobby Ryan deal. In 2020, the Sens bought out Ryan, who’s now retired, but with the $1.8 million the Sens are paying him next season, that makes him among the highest-paid hockey podcasters around.
New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils
Rangers centre Mika Zibanejad is the one that got away. In 2016, when the Sens traded him to New York, they received Derick Brassard in return. It now seems insulting that the Sens also had to send New York a second-rounder in that deal. When the Sens traded Brassard away, they at least ended up with Filip Gustavsson. But then traded Gus away for Cam Talbot, who they won’t resign this summer. The Zibanejad trade tree is basically dead. The Rangers also have Tyler Motte who was traded there this year for Julien Gauthier. Gauthier is a free agent this summer. Ben Harpur is a Ranger too but hasn’t been used in the series. The Sens dealt him to Toronto with Cody Ceci in a deal we’ll discuss in a moment.
The cheeseburger-munching Curtis Lazar continues to find work in the league, now skating for the Devils. Fans used to say the Sens did well by getting a second-rounder for Lazar because they turned it into Alex Formenton. But that’s a touchy subject these days.
Vegas vs Winnipeg
Mark Stone has magically returned from the long-term injured reserve list just in time for the playoffs. What amazing timing! We’re certain it has nothing to do with the salary cap circumvention. Not at all. Stone was delivered to Vegas in 2019 and the Sens still have Erik Brannstrom and Egor Sokolov to show from the deal. The Knights also have Michael Amadio, a journeyman, who was here for just 5 games a couple of years ago. The Sens opted not to re-sign him and, to everyone’s surprise, he scored 16 goals in Vegas this year. He even potted a big double-overtime goal for the Knights in round one.
Cody Ceci is the lone former Senator in this series. He was dealt to Toronto in 2019 in a package deal that saw them get Connor Brown and Nitkia Zaitsev. The Sens dealt Zaitsev to Chicago and Brown to Washington and still have the Capitals’ second rounder next year to show for it.
Winnipeg at Minnesota
The Jets have Dylan DeMelo, a solid, likeable right shot defenceman who would have come in handy the past couple of years. The Sens got a third rounder for him which they turned into goalie prospect Leevi Meriläinen.
For Minnesota, goalie Filip Gustavsson is emerging as a star. He did what Cam Talbot could not do last year and that’s send Marc-Andre Fleury to backup status in the playoffs. The loss of Gus stings, because the Sens currently need another NHL-caliber goalie. He was traded by Ottawa last summer for 36 games of Talbot, who won’t be re-signed this summer.
Seattle vs Colorado
Alex Galcheynuk and Joey Daccord are the only former Senators who had a chance here but they’re in the minors, playing in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
In review, the best former Senators in the playoffs include Zibanejad, Gustavsson, Stone, Pageau, Paul, and DeMelo. The best of what remains from them in Ottawa is Greig, Brannstrom, Joseph, Sokolov, Meriläinen and Formenton.
So if you’re a Sens fan, those are players you to keep an eye on in the Stanley Cup playoffs this year – a little something to mix it up, instead of just cheering against the Leafs.