This is part of Ottawa Senators day at PHT…
The Ottawa Senators’ biggest move this offseason, aside from the hiring of new coach Guy Boucher, came when they made the surprising move to trade 23-year-old forward Mika Zibanejad to the New York Rangers in exchange for Derick Brassard.
Part of what made it such a surprising move is that it’s the type of move you might expect from a team that is in more of a “win now” mode because of the significant age difference between the two players. Zibanejad is still only 23 years old, has shown improvement every year he has been in the league, and is probably now just entering his prime years in the league.
Brassard, on the other hand, might be superior player at this very moment, but is also entering his age 29 season, meaning he has probably already played his best hockey and might even start to trend downward over the next three seasons. In other words, what you get from him right now is probably the best you are going to get.
Again, there is nothing wrong with that. Brassard is a heck of a player that brings a solid all-around game to the ice every night and has topped 58 points in each of the past two seasons. And if the Senators can get there, he has also been a rock-solid playoff performer.
There is also some certainty when it comes to the finances (though the Senators deny this was a factor) with Brassard signed for three more years at a $5 million cap hit per season. But only costs the team $10 million in actual salary over that stretch. Zibanejad is a restricted free agent after this season and depending on what he does this season could be looking at a significant raise.
So, with all of that in mind, is this a trade the Senators can win long-term? They think they have the better player right now and he could help them get back into a playoff spot, but there is always the chance that Zibanejad could blossom in New York and take his game to an entirely new level while Brassard could easily start to trend in the opposite direction.