Ottawa Senators major trades history
December 19, 1992
Ottawa traded Jim Thomson and Marc Fortier to Los Angeles Kings for Bob Kudelski and Shawn McCosh.
Christmas came six days early for Senators fans in 1992. Their expansion season was not going well, to say the least, and it was not uncommon for the team to be blown out. Playing in the ancient Civic Centre, being a fan of the team was already depressing.
But Ottawa made their first big move as a franchise when they traded for four-time 20 goal scorer Kudelski, exchanging journeymen and prospects in the trade as well. He caught on immediately. In his 48 games as a Sen that season, he scored 21 goals and 14 assists, on a team with little to work with. The next year, little changed, as he was paired on a line with young phenom Alexei Yashin with much success. However, without much explanation, with Kudelski on pace to score 50 goals,
having already amassed 26 and 15 assists in 41 games, the team traded him on January 6th, 1994 for Scott Levins, Evgeny Davydov and two draft picks (fourth round and sixth round). Reactions ranged from utter confusion to downright rage. Levins, a fighter, was the only player the Senators got back who ever even much played with the team, suiting up for 84 games over three seasons, collecting a grand total of 21 points. Davydov played 43 over two years, with an equally impressive 15 points. As for the draft picks, Mike Gaffney and Kevin Bolibruck, neither played a single game in the NHL. Leaving Ottawa didn't fair well for Kudelski either. He made played in the All-Star game shortly after being traded, due to his success in Ottawa, but never lasted in Florida. Within three years, he was retired, his last pro season being four games in the AHL. For years after this trade, Senators fans flooded call in shows to complain about how the team let the one sniper they ever had go.
June 26, 1993
Ottawa traded G Peter Sidorkiewicz and future considerations to New Jersey for G Craig Billington, LW Troy Mallette, and a 1993 fouth round draft pick .
Like Kudelski, Sido was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise sad expansion year Ottawa team, and was the Senators lone representative in that year's All-Star game. Without his consistent goaltending, the team likely would've lost even more games that first year, if that was even possible. Billington, who coincedentally was also in that year's All-Star game as a goalie, served as the Senators starting netminder the next year, and struggled. Badly. The following season, which was shortened due to the lockout, he was a back-up to Don Beaupre and was gone the year after that, moving from team to team as a back-up for years to come. Mallette was mostly a scrapper, but provided decent energy for Ottawa over three years, though little offense to go with it.
Ottawa traded their 1995 fifth round draft pick to Washington Capitals for G Don Beaupre.
After a year of uncertainty with Billington between the pipes, the Senators thought they needed another veteran to play goal and traded for two-time All-Star Beaupre. Almost from the start, he became a fan favorite, and kept a (sadly) still bad team in a lot of games they probably didn't have much business otherwise being in. His statistics as a Senator that year - 3.36 GAA and 0.896 SV% - may not be impressive now, but anyone who saw that team remembers just how good he was for them. He would also come in handy in a big trade later on...
April 7th, 1995
Ottawa traded D Norm Maciver and C Troy Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins for LW Martin Straka.
Pittsburgh, gearing up for a Cup run, thought they needed more of a veteran presence in their line-up, and came knocking on the door of Ottawa. Murray, who had been the team's captain, was one of the more reliable Senators at that time and brought experience that was otherwise lacking. Though he didn't put up big numbers (only 14 points in 33 games that year), he was also only -1, again, on a pretty awful team. The small but quick and crafty Maciver had been with the Sens from the innagural year, where he had 63 points in 80 games, but his production had been dropping off every year. As well, there were health questions surrounding him. He suffered a bruised heart as a result of a hit in the offseason, when playing with Team Canada at the World Championships. Getting to unload two veterans was a welcome opportunity for Ottawa. The Penguins, I guess feeling as though they had enough young scorers, were willing to part with one of their more well regarded players, and one who, the previous year, had put up 30 goals and 34 assists. The hope of the Senators organization at the time of the trade was that the then-22-year-old Straka would be one of the cornerstones of the franchise. It never quite worked out that way, unfortunately. The holes in his game became quite obvious when he was away from a super talented Pittsburgh team and put into a much less polished Senators line-up, and he became somewhat of a whipping boy by the media and a segment of the fanbase. Having collected only 25 points in 43 games of the '95-'96 year, he was not long for Ottawa, and like Beaupre, was part of a significant move shortly thereafter.
August 4, 1995
Ottawa traded their 1996 second round pick to St. Louis Blues for D Steve Duchesne.
This move was, without question, the biggest trade the young Senators franchise had made up to this point. They acquired a four-time All-Star who, though only 29, had been an NHLer for nine years. After being one of the main parts of the L.A. Kings during the late 80's, Duchesne had bounced around from team to team to team, including being part of the trade that landed the Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros .
Through it all, he put up fantastic numbers, having averaged 55 points 69 games for his career up to that point. Duchesne brought considerable experience, a winning background, and a powerplay general to the Senators, something they had been mostly without until then. The billingual Duchesne instantly became one of the most popular Senators, both because of his on-ice achievements as well as his considerable off-ice charity work in the community. In his first year in Ottawa, Duchense netted 36 points in 62 games, which looks worse than it is, as he didn't have much to work with yet. The next year, he totalled 47 points, and scored what was, up to that point, the biggest goal in the history of the organization when he netted the game winner on a breakaway in the game that gave the team their first playoff birth. As if he needed to be more popular. Though the team lost in the first round that year, in overtime of the seventh game no less, Duchesne was thought to be a major part of their future. Oops, not exactly. He was traded back to St. Louis that offseason for the bigger Igor Kravchuk. While Duchesne was warm and graceious with the media, Kravchuk was standoffish. While Duchesne played well in big games, Kravchuk folded under pressure, often making crucial, game deciding errors. Basically, the team traded one of their most popular players for someone who would go onto be one of their most hated. Though they tried to rationalize it by saying they couldn't afford to keep Duchesne, the move was right up there with the trade that sent Bob Kudelski out of town as one of most maligned.
January 23, 1996
Ottawa traded G Don Beaupre, LW Martin Straka, and D Bryan Berard to the New York Islanders for G Damian Rhodes and D Wade Redden
Though the Duchesne move was the biggest as far as immediate impact, this trade was unquestionably the Senators biggest long-term wise. Bryan Berard, despite being drafted first overall by the Senators in 1995, seemed to have no desire to play for the team. His contract dispute got more bitter as time went on, with Berard going as far as to say that he would never suit up for Ottawa.
The organization, feeling the pressure to get what was then considered to be a franchise defencemen locked up, axed the GM who Berard was having the difficultly with, Randy Sexton, and replaced him with Pierre Gauthier, an extremely well respected hockey mind. Gauthier tried to get Berard into the fold, but eventually decided the headache was not worth it. The team traded Berard, Straka, who as I said above was not exactly working out as planned, and Beaupre to the Islanders for Wade Redden, who was the player taken after Berard in that draft, and goalie Damian Rhodes, who had been sent to the Islanders a few minutes earleir for veteran Kirk Muller. Though it was said that he didn't have Berard's speed or offence, many thought Redden was the better all around defenceman, and unlike Berard, seemed eager to play in Ottawa. In Rhodes, the Senators continued their revolving door of starting goalies, now onto their fourth one in as many years. Even though the Ottawa-Toronto rivalry was not then what it is now, Senators fans still felt funny about seeing Rhodes in his blue goalie pads during his first game with the team. The day after the trade, Gauthier fired extremely unpopular head coach Davey Allison and replaced him with Jacques Martin. Gauthier made it known things were going to change. Rhodes would go onto play three-and-a-half years in Ottawa, usually rotating the starting job with veteran Ron Tugnutt. He never emerged as the bonafided starter the team had hoped (the fact he questioned whether he could handle the role upon being told of his trade to the team might have been a sign of something), but he was reliable when called upon, which included 12 playoff games over two years. Over those three years, he averaged a 2.56 GAA with a .902 SV%. Wade Redden, has, obviously, become one of the most well liked and successful Senators in the team's short history, and going into his ninth year with the team, is seen as one of the premier defencemen in the NHL. Straka would end up doing pretty well for himself away from the team, and once he was gone, fans questioned why he was thrown into the deal, which was especially funny because at the time of the trade, I don't recall hearing one person say it, as we, having seen him be a disappointment as a top line player, weren't too sad to see him go. Berard has played for six NHL teams, and though he's had a decent career, it was a strange twist of fate that saw him suffer his near-career threatening eye injury in Ottawa while playing for the rival Leafs. Up to that point, whenever he came to the city to play, he was booed out of the building, with fans remembering his claims of never playing for the team. But since, it's been a different story, as in a weird way, hockey fans in this area feel a closeness to him.
June 22, 1996
Ottawa traded F Trent Mcleary and their 1996 third round pick for LW Shawn McEachern.
Pierre Gauthier continued to put his stamp on the team by acquiring the blazing fast McEachern, who had scored 24 goals and 29 assists for the Bruins the previous year. Once considered a future sniper, McEachern had never panned out to the extent the teams he played for had hoped. And though that didn't change drastically during his six years in Ottawa, he was a major part of the team's maturation from basement dwellers to guaranteed playoff makers. Mostly playing with Yashin, McEachern did twice score 30+ goals in Ottawa (31 in '98-'99 and 32 in '00-'01), but unfortunately, like a lot of Senators, he was not able to perform when it mattered most: the playoffs. In 49 playoff games with the team, he scored a disappointing 17 points, which, in comparison to his regular season numbers with Ottawa (142 goals, 162 assists over 454 games), doesn't paint a pretty picture. He was traded to Atlanta for D Brian Pothier at the end of the 2002 season.
November 27, 1996
Ottawa traded LW Pavol Demitra to St. Louis Blues for D Christer Olsson
At the time it was not considered significant, at all, but this is one of those trades that Senators fans look back on and cry about. Demitra, a late round steal in the 1993 draft at 227th overall, never really got a fair shot with Ottawa. Despite tearing up the AHL, with 155 points in 109 games over two years, he only ever played 59 with the big club. Why, you ask? I really couldn't tell you. So when he was traded, no one batted much of an eye, though we probably should have. Of course, he's gone on to average 28 goals and 41 points in 63 games in St. Louis, meaning more than a point-a-game, basically being one of the most consistent offensive players in the league. Olsson lasted one year in Ottawa, playing 25 games in the '96-'97 season, collecting only five points. He still plays in Europe though. Thank God. Even writing about this trade depresses me.
January 17, 1998
Ottawa traded C Alexandre Daigle to Philadelphia Flyers for RW Pat Falloon, C Vaclav Prospal, and their 1998 second round draft pick.
This is when the patience with Alexandre Daigle ran out. Long thought to be the next big superstar, the Senators drafted him first overall in 1993, ahead of Chris Pronger and Paul Kariya. He was so considered a sure thing the word is the Quebec Nordiques were willing to part with Peter Forsberg to get the french Daigle into their fold. Ottawa refused. That's how high expectations were. I assume most of you remember how it worked out. Despite a promising rookie year that saw him collect 51 points, Daigle never reached that elite player status, and mostly disappointed Sens faithful. Not just with his offensive output, or lack thereof, but also his effort, as it often looked like he wasn't trying. Probably because he wasn't. For whatever reason, his heart was not in the game, and it seems, in retrospect, like Daigle was just blessed with fantastic athletic ability, but sadly, little ambition in regards to the game. Oh, and his rookie contract of $2.45 million per year is long pointed to as the reason for the $850,000 rookie cap in the CBA that came out of the 1994 lockout. Having only scored 16 points in 38 games up to that point, and being a defensive liability all the way, Pierre Gauthier pulled the plug. In return, Ottawa got another highly drafted (second overall in 1991) yet up to that point disappointing player in Falloon, highly rated prospect Prospal, and a draft pick that ended up being Chris Bala, who's never played a game with the Sens. Falloon's time with the team was mostly unmemorable, as he played 28 games the rest of that season (six points) before being cut loose. Prospal, considered to be the crux of the trade, was another story. When coming over to the team, the hopes were that Vinny as he would come to be known would develop into a strong second line center to compliment franchise player Yashin. Like with Straka, it didn't happen. Perhaps expectations were too high, or maybe Prospal just wasn't ready for such a role. Whatever the case may be, he was not effective in Ottawa. He ended up scoring 111 points in his 213 games with the team, which wasn't bad, but below where the bar was set upon his arrival. Again, like Straka, he was a whipping boy of the local media, often used as the example for what was wrong with the team. And like Straka, he would go onto big things when leaving the team. He ended up being traded at the mid-way point of the '00-'01 season. By then, with only one goal in 40 games, he had earned himself a comfortable spot in Jacques Martin's doghouse, and was even a healthy scratch a few times. Though some might point to him the same way they do Demitra and say the Sens were wrong for trading him, the reality is they gave Prospal every chance to pan out here. It just didn't happen. His success with other teams is nice, but was never going to occur here in Ottawa. As for Daigle, he went from the Flyers to the Rangers, took two years off of playing hockey to persue acting in Hollywood, but has come back and found a nice role with the Minnesota Wild, for whom he was a consistent secondary scoring option last season.
March 23, 1999
Ottawa traded RW Chris Murray to the Chicago Blackhawks for RW Nelson Emerson.
Coming only three days after acquiring Ted Donato, this trade deadline move is only significant in what it didn't result in. The Senators, having had their best season ever with over 100 points and a #2 seed in the Eastern Conference, were hoping to make a long playoff run, and so they traded for the five-time 20 goal scorer Emerson with hopes that he would give them some offense on the second line. The team ended up losing all seven games he played with the team, including the four playoff games they lost to Buffalo as they were swept out of the post season. Emerson did collect six points in those seven games, but signed with another team that offseason. Understandbly so.
March 14, 2000
Ottawa traded D Janne Laukkanen and G Ron Tugnutt to Pittsburgh Penguins for G Tom Barrasso.
Coming off of an extremely disappointing first round sweep the previous year, and looking like they were on a road that would collide with the Maple Leafs, GM Marshall Johnston made the first major trade deadline move in the history of the team. Up to that point, it had been role players. In Barrasso, they were getting a two-time Cup winner, a goalie considered to be upper echolon, and someone who could steal games. They hoped. Up to then, Ron Tugnutt had been the starter, and though he didn't have the pedigree of most other starting goalies, his numbers were spectacular as a Senator. In his three-and-a-half seasons in Ottawa, which included an All-Star appearance, he averaged a sparkling 2.34 GAA (which included '98-'99's 1.79 in 43 games) and an impressive .906 SV&. Miracleously, the team's goaltending was still not seen as up to par. I can't explain why, but I suspect people never got over the fact it was Ron Tugnutt, journeyman goalie, that was their starter, and wanted someone with a dazzling reputation. As far as on-ice performance goes, they got that in Barrasso. At least, they should've. From the time he put on a Sens sweater, Barrasso struggled, in every aspect. In addition to being rude with the media, which shouldn't have come as a surprise considering his reputation, Barrasso was not effective on the ice. During the seven regular season games he played, he had a GAA over 3.00. But fans weren't too concerned, because what mattered was the playoffs. We'd seen what a great regular season gets you the previous year. Unfortunately, things didn't change when the post season came and Maple Leafs rolled into town. Though you would've been hard pressed to make the case that Barrasso lost the series for them, he certainly didn't win it either, and by the end, most fans were left wondering if Ron Tugnutt wasn't the better choice after all. It was the first of many years when Toronto would eliminiate Ottawa from the playoffs, and the series that made Richard Persson the most hated Ottawa Senator EVER. After the season, Barrasso bolted town, and as a result of the death of his daughter, ended up taking a brief retirement from the game, leaving Ottawa with Patrick Lalime as their starter, a role he would have for four seasons. Laukkanen, the defencemen in the trade, had been one of the most reliable blueliners the team had had, so losing him as part of the trade hurt as well. And to make matters worse, the team that supposedly got the short end of the stick in the trade, the team that was thought to be unloading a big contract and looking to next year, Pittsburgh, went further into the playoffs than the Sens did.
March 13, 2001
Ottawa traded future considerations to Florida Panthers for C Mike Sillinger.
Ottawa traded their 2001 third round draft pick to Minnesota Wild for D Curtis Leschyshyn.
Another year, more deadline dealing. Like two years earlier, Ottawa was coming off of a fantastic season. 109 points, #2 in the Eastern Conference, fourth overall in the NHL. Fans thought, this had to be the year. So Johnson, learning from the previous year's mistake, added pieces rather than making a major move. Sillinger, a 10-year NHL veteran, was brought in to help win faceoffs, which the team was weak at and he was a specialist of. Leschyshyn, a member of the 1996 Cup winning Colorado Avalanche, was brought in to give them experience, and specifically, someone who'd won before. They looked like wise moves, adding to an already loaded line-up that included four 70 point scorers. First on the radar, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the first round of the playoffs. Four games later, it was over. Another sweep. This playoff series is long considered the most embarassing in the history of a franchise not exactly known for their success from April on. It is the only time the Leafs blatanly outplayed the Senators, as every other time it was either close or the Sens dominated but couldn't put the puck in the net. Both Sillinger and Leschyshyn were UFAs, but only Sillinger left, as Leschyshyn took less money to stay in Ottawa, where he remained a steady player for three more seasons.
June 23, 2001
Ottawa traded C Alexei Yashin to New York Islanders for D Zdeno Chara, F Bill Muckalt, and their 2001 first round (second overall) draft pick.
After the fleecing at the hands of the Leafs, Sens management finally came to the conclusion most fans of the team had years earlier: Alexei Yashin had to go. With only one point all series, and zero the series before, Yashin had justifiably gotten the reputation as a choker, and, when combined with his numerous holdouts, tension with teammates, asshole of an agent, and escalating salary, it made perfect sense to unload him. But to who? Apparently, Islanders GM Mike Milbury didn't feel ripped off enough by the Wade Redden trade as he took the bait, offering up 6'9" defenceman Chara, plugger Muckalt, and the prized second overall pick in the upcoming draft. I think we all know how this has worked out. Chara has developed as one of the best all around defencemen in the game, culmulating last year when he was a Norris Trophy finalist. In addition to the physical game he brings due to his size, Chara's offence has increased at a rate I'm sure Milbury didn't think was possible, as each of his last two seasons point totals (39 and 41) individually equal what he did on Long Island over four years. Some might say that Milbury couldn't have known Chara would improve so significantly, and there might be some merit in that. But it's well known that defencemen take longer to develop than any other position, and when you have a 24-year-old, 6'9" guy, I would think you'd have more patience than usual. The second round pick ended up being Jason Spezza, who looks like he's about to emerge as a top 10 scorer in the league, having just had the biggest offensive year in the AHL in over ten years. And as for Mr. Yashin, the outcome has been predictable. Decent regular seasons, poor playoff performances, and questions about his heart. Shocking, I know. The team signed him to a 10-year, $90 million deal when they traded for him four years ago, and now, under the new CBA, are probably kicking themselves daily. Chara for Yashin would be a steal right now. Throw in Spezza and you have yet another example of why Mike Milbury is the most incompetent GM in pro hockey.
September 21, 2002
Ottawa traded D Sami Salo to Vancouver Canucks for LW Peter Schaefer.
Looking back, this looks like one of those trades where both teams won. After three good years, where he collected 29, 31, and 36 points, Schaefer had been on the outs with Canucks GM Brian Burke for not accepting his qualifying offer, and spent a year playing in Europe as a result. Burke went onto slam Schaefer for the decision and it looked like the two sides would never reconcile. Ottawa swooped in with a resolution. The speedy yet gritty Schaefer, who was only 25, addressed the needs of the club. Salo was someone who had been somewhat of an enigma in Ottawa. He was well regarded due to possessing one of the hardest shots in the league, but he seemed unable to stay healthy, missing approximately 130 games over three years. Already deep on defence, Ottawa could afford to part with him. Since leaving, he's managed to stay relatively injury free in Vancouver, which makes me question if the issue was conditioning. Ottawa made no bones about the fact that one of the main reasons why he was traded was his inability to stay in the line-up, and so perhaps he got his act together. He's done very well in Vancouver and addressed a need they had. Schaefer had his best NHL season last year with 39 points, and has been consistent since coming over.
February 25, 2003
Ottawa traded F Jakub Klepis to Buffalo Sabres for LW Vaclav Varada.
In another close-to-the-deadline move, Sens GM John Muckler (notice a trend?) felt like the team needed more toughness. It wasn't as if fans hadn't been saying that about the team since the beginning of time. In Varada, he got someone he knew very well, from when he was GM of the Sabres. Though he wasn't much of a scorer, it was thought that Ottawa, the highest scoring team in the league that season, was set there and had other holes to fill. Ottawa went to game seven of the Eastern Conference finals that year, losing out to the eventual Cup winners New Jersey due to a goal in the last three minutes. Varada had six points in 18 games that playoff run and was a major part of the team's success, providing a meanstreak from their forwards they otherwise lacked. He's still with the team of course, but at $1.2 million per year, might be overpaid for his role and could be moved. This trade was important because it was the first time Ottawa had mortgaged their future for immediate help, and signaled a new era for a team that was eternally looking towards next year or the year after that. Klepis was their first round pick in 2002, and has since moved onto the Washington organization. He doesn't look like he'll be an NHLer anytime soon. The Bryan Smolinski for 2001 first round pick Tim Gleason trade that came two weeks later was very similar in that Ottawa sent one of their best prospects away for help now, though with Gleason there were other factors as it was unknown if the team could sign him before the 2003 draft, thus making him eligible to re-enter it.
February 18, 2004
Ottawa traded F Brooks Laich and their 2005 second round draft pick to Washington Capitals for RW Peter Bondra
This seemed like it had to work. Adding Bondra, a five-time all-star, nine-time 30+ goal scorer (four times over 40), to an already offensively loaded roster appeared as though it would give Ottawa an edge over all the other Eastern contenders. With that kind of firepower, no one could stop them, and so it didn't matter how unreliable our goaltending was. That was the thinking at the time. As far as excitement about a single trade, before this week's move that saw Dany Heatley come to town, this took the cake. I'll never forget the first game Bondra played as a Senator. The building literally roared and gave him a standing ovating when he took the ice for his first shift, and nearly exploded when he scored later in the game. It was as loud as I've heard the Corel Centre, including playoff games. Unfortunately, it didn't last. Bondra,a right winger his whole career, moved over to the left wing to play with Daniel Alfredsson, which confused some as they thought it made more sense to put him with sniper Marian Hossa, a fellow Slovakian and someone who idolized Bondra. The positional change seemed to have a negative impact on Bondra, as he never quite got comfortable. In 23 regular season games, he had 14 points, despite playing on the top line and getting significant powerplay time. In the media, he talked about being ready for the "war" that was going to be another series with Toronto. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was all talk. Another first round exit at the hands of Pat Quinn and company was the result, with Bondra being pointless for the seven game series. 0 points from someone who had 477 career NHL goals. In his defense, he did get chances, he just wasn't able to capitalize. But even still, they didn't trade for Peter Bondra for his ability to get scoring opportunities. They acquired him for his finish. He didn't have one. When they traded for Bondra, the Sens said they would unquestionably pick up the option year on his contract. By the end of the playoffs, there was no doubt that they would not be doing so.
March 9, 2004
Ottawa traded D Karel Rachunek and LW Alexandre Giroux to New York Rangers for D Greg de Vries.
Much of what I said about Peter Bondra's short stay in Ottawa can be applied to Greg de Vries. Like Bondra, this was a move made to solidify Ottawa. By this point, Philadelphia had traded for Alexei Zhamnov, Boston Sergei Gonchar, and Toronto Brian Leetch, so there was a bit of an arms race going on with the big boys of the Eastern Conference, and John Muckler was feeling pressure to keep up. Suddenly, getting Bondra wasn't enough. De Vries, in theory, gave Ottawa two defence pairs that could log 20+ minutes. Already an owner of a Cup ring, it was thought that de Vries would bring something to the table that the other three didn't. But like Bondra, it never worked out the way the team had hoped. He struggled from the start, often looking lost on the ice, and was never able to get acquainted with the Ottawa system. As his play worsened in the playoffs, his ice time diminished, and there were even calls for him to be scratched. After his poor play, it was thought that he would be a candidate to be bought out, but when that didn't happen, it looked like Muckler might give him another chance, $2 million salary and all. As we saw this week, that's not the case. Luckily for the Sens, what they gave up didn't amount to much. Though extremely talented Rachunek is also very inconsistent. He held out for an entire year, missing the '01-'02 season, and despite coming back the next year with a new contract and having a pretty strong season, he was always in the bad books of Sens management. At the time of the trade, Jacques Martin had soured on him and made Rachunek a healthy scratch for consecutive games.