With the majority of the province of Ontario on lockdown due to COVID-19, Ottawa Senators’ General Manger Pierre Dorion spent his holiday weekend working the phone lines – making a trio of moves.
Then the GM made the surprise signing of 2020 third-overall selection Tim Stuetzle to an entry-level contract. Stuetzle will join the club upon a short quarantine after his Germany team is eliminated from the World Junior Championship.
Last but not least, Dorion dealt injured players, forward Marian Gaborik and goalie Anders Nilsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade that saw the Senators recoup a second-round selection, albeit in 2022 – along with defenseman Braydon Coburn and C/LW Cedric Paquette.
The Senators acquired three assets for Gaborik (back) and Nilsson (concussion) who will aid the Lightning in cap relief who will place the pair on Long Term Injured Reserve. Gaborik hasn’t suited up for a NHL game since March 22/18 due to a lingering back injury. While Nilsson suffered a concussion December 16/19 in Florida versus the Panthers and hasn’t been able to quell symptoms in over a year.
In Coburn, the club receives a six-foot-five, 225-pound stay-at-home physical defender. A veteran of 1101 NHL games including playoffs, the 35-year old will line up on the left side of a crowded blue line. Thomas Chabot, Christian Wolanin, Erik Brannstrom, and Mike Reilly already hold down four spots.
Brannstrom has the ability to skate on the right and may switch sides. However, Josh Brown, Erik Gudbranson, Christian Jaros, Nikita Zaitsev, Artem Zub are all competing for ice-time.
Paquette adds a fourth-line presence and experience on the penalty-kill. The 27-year old will not wow anyone with his offence, 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 61 games last season, following up with three assists in 25 postseason appearances. However, the Gaspe, QC native arrives in Ottawa with a Stanley Cup ring.
Neither Coburn nor Paquette may remain with the Senators all season, as both players are in the final year of their contracts and will likely be sought-after trade fodder at the deadline.
The pair add to a glut of potential UFA’s on expiring deals. They include forwards Artem Anisimov, Alex Galchenyuk, and Stepan, in addition to d-men Gudbranson and Reilly.