We are all very much aware of the fact that the Ottawa Senators have been struggling for majority of the 2017-18 season and this comes both on the ice as well as off the ice as players have been lacking performance while filling the seats at Canadian Tire Centre have been an issue brought to discussion as well.
With the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline approaching in just over a week’s time on the 26th of February, NHL scouts and executives have been hard at work touring from arena to arena in search of their next target to add on via acquisition.
As you would expect, Senators president and CEO Eugene Melnyk as well as general manager Pierre Dorion have been keeping busy over the last few weeks as they have been part of crowds to view a potential player who could well suit their roster while they have also been on the phones plenty as well.
On Wednesday night. TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reported that the 32-year-old defensemen had been pulled from the game taking place against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period of play as the completion of a deal was in the midst of being processed.
Just moments later, McKenzie mentioned that something between the two organizations was indeed happening but nothing was yet official to that point in time. He also noted that no trade call had been made while stating the fact of which much like Ottawa, the Los Angeles Kings were also in action at PNC Arena as they paid a visit to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Moving on, as more details slowly started to develop, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger indicated that the Kings player that was believed to be headed out when it’s all said and done was still on the ice and taking part in the game.
Moments following that, Dreger reported that Dion Phaneuf was officially on the move to L.A. alongside Nate Thompson while Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore were headed the other way in exchange. As far as contract terms go, the Senators agreed to retain 25% of Phaneuf’s remaining salary.
This was all re-iterated just a minute later as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman joined in on the trade frenzy fun, however, it wasn’t all over just yet as McKenzie popped in again saying that the trade call had not yet been completed, therefore, the trade was not yet finalized.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic Toronto was next to step in, mentioning that it would be another 20 minutes or so before either club got word on the confirmation they were seeking for approval reasons.
At last after the short wait, McKenzie received word that the swap got its necessary permissions to move forwards and alert the players to pack up before being sent out to join their new squads.
At this point, both teams had formally announced the arrangements while TSN Hockey Insider Frank Seravalli revealed the fact of which this agreement saves the Senators $5,455,107 in cap space, including the percentage of cash being eaten in what there is left over of Phaneuf’s persisting contract now headed to the City of Angels.
Looking back at contract terms for just a moment more, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.ca reported that Phaneuf is due to be paid $7.675M more than Gaborik in actual dollars over the next three seasons, however, noting that it is offset by the 25% being retained by Ottawa.
Mike Johnston of Sportsnet.ca notes that this deal comes two years and four days after Phaneuf was dealt from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a nine-player blockbuster deal which sent defensemen Jared Cowen to the Leafs alongside forwards Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and Tobias Lindberg as well as Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
It is also worth mentioning that Phaneuf has three more seasons left on his seven-year, $49 million contract signed with Toronto in 2014 and finishes his tenure in the nation’s capital having played a total of 154 games with the club whom he registered 13 goals with to go alongside 41 assists, 157 penalty minutes and a minus-17 rating.
So far this season, Phaneuf has recorded 3 goals, 16 points in 53 total games played while for the extent of his 13-year NHL career, Phaneuf has recorded 478 points in a total of 955 games played between the Senators, Maple Leafs as well as the Calgary Flames.
Before walking out of the Canadian Tire Centre for the very last time, Phaneuf spoke to the media about his feelings and emotions upon receiving the news from head coach Guy Boucher, “I’m excited to be going to the Los Angeles Kings. It’s going to be a real good experience for me to be able to join that team. … I’m excited about the team that they have, where they’re at in the standings and I’m going to go there and do my best to do whatever I can to help their team.”
In closing, Phaneuf said, “The business is the business. For me, it’s a business decision that the Ottawa Senators wanted to move me, and I respect that.”
A short time after that, Kings general manager Rob Blake spoke briefly with the media where he said, “Dion brings to our club a great deal of experience and leadership. He also plays with a physical edge, which complements our lineup well.”
As a result of this trade, Phaneuf leaves a team just three points out of last place in the Atlantic Division and joins a team that’s just outside of a playoff position in the Western Conference. It is also worthwhile mentioning that he goes from playing with one Norris Trophy-winning defenceman in Erik Karlsson to another in Canadian native Drew Doughty.
Speaking of Karlsson, he took a few minutes after the Senators 6-3 loss to the Penguins to discuss the business side of hockey while at the same time acknowledging his former teammate and thanking him for his contributions to the team during his time in Ottawa, “Everybody knows that things are going to happen. You just never know when it’s going to happen or if it’s going to happen. So, we wish him all the best … going to L.A. I know personally he’s going to do real well there.”
Taking a look at what Phaneuf serves as a player when on the ice, he is a veteran with experience and therefore should be an offensive upgrade on the power play where the Kings currently stand ranked at 19th in the league.
Taking a look at what the Senators obtain as a result of this deal, Marian Gaborik, 35, has scored 7 goals in 30 games played this season while the best of his career was in 2009-2010 when he recorded 86 points with the New York Rangers.
As noted by Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press, the Senators save money even while taking on Gaborik’s contract which currently has about $11 million left on it over the next three seasons. Further more, Gaborik is a buyout candidate after the conclusion of this season, a move that would potentially be seen as an additional help to Ottawa’s bottom line.
In a brief statement from Kings general manager Rob Blake, he said in regards to Gaborik, “Marian has enjoyed a tremendous career to date and has played an integral role with our team over the years, including a Stanley Cup championship.”