The Senators may be close to adding another defenseman.
According to Hockey Night in America, Ottawa is discussing a deal for Toronto’s Nikita Zaitsev.
The report states the deal might not happen for a couple of days, but it is being discussed nonetheless.
Hearing OTT/TOR are working on a Zaitsev deal. Might not happen for a couple of days, but it’s in the process.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 29, 2019
It would appear as well that Cody Ceci would be coming back to the Maple Leafs in return.
There is belief that Cody Ceci could be heading back in return. Would make sense if it was processed after Zaitsev’s $3M bonus is paid July 1. https://t.co/AJ31P49MGh
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 29, 2019
Zaitsev, 27, has five years remaining on the seven-year, $31.5 million deal he signed with Toronto in 2017. The Senators also appear to be on his no-trade list, so that could complicate things going forward.
Zaitsev has not been asked to waive. Could be a formality, however his relationship with DJ Smith could help make this happen. https://t.co/4mnj7B7CBp
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 29, 2019
Zaitsev has fallen off significantly since signing his current deal as he had 36 points (four goals, 32 assists) in 2016-17 and has combined for eight goals and 19 assists since.
His plus-minus has gotten significantly better in that time as he went from minus-22 to plus-10, but his ice time has also gone down somewhat, and his contract demands more out of him on the offensive end even if he is a defenseman.
The Maple Leafs also want to re-sign restricted free agent Mitch Marner who is due a massive payday this year.
Getting rid of Zaitsev’s deal would go a long way in helping that.
For the Senators, after they lost Erik Karlsson in a trade to the Sharks last year, they have added a couple defensemen to help make up for his loss.
Ottawa received top defenseman prospect Erik Brannstrom in a deal with the Golden Knights in return for forward Mark Stone.
The team already has a stud in Thomas Chabot on its blue line and Brannstrom is the next man up in making the team’s defense formidable for years to come.
Zaitsev would only help with the team’s depth going forward in what looks to be a lengthy rebuild.