Once again, the Ottawa Senators are turning every head in the National Hockey League in their direction this afternoon.
According to a breaking news report from Senators insider Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Senators have pulled two of their players out of the lineup this afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers, leading to rampant speculation that a trade is about to happen.
And the Senators are not new to trade after getting involved in a complex blockbuster trade yesterday with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vegas Golden Knights to ship centre Derick Brassard to the defending champions. Garrioch is reporting that both Senators defenseman Johnny Oduya (Erik Karksson's line partner) and newly-acquired defender Ian Cole have been removed from the lineup today just prior to the Sens facing off against the Flyers. Garrioch is calling this a "precautionary" measure due to the fact that the Senators are closing in on deals for both of these players, which was confirmed by head coach Guy Boucher.
Cole is on an expiring contract makes him a worthwhile pickup for the Senators if they’re in a full-on sell mode, and is expected to be shipped elsewhere once again before Monday. Dorion now has another piece he can flip at the deadline to land some more assets as the Sens shed salary and look to rebuild a younger and more affordable team. The 28-year-old blue liner, who found himself on and off the block this season, instantly moves into the running to be the next player dealt by Ottawa, especially now that he is no where to be found prior to this afternoon's game.
However, Oduya might be next as well. The veteran defender has the type of experience that playoff contenders are going after prior to Monday's deadline. He has played in 106 playoff games and Dorion is fielding offers for him. Oduya's contract includes bonuses for games played. The 36-year-old defenseman signed a one-year, $2.25-million contract with the Senators last summer and is set to become a free agent this summer. He isn’t likely to be part of the Senators long-term future as they have clearly entered the rebuilding phase.
“My approach is the same, I would say, as anytime,” said Oduya about the recent trade rumors to the Ottawa Sun. “I’ve been through it so many times now that I would say it doesn’t bother me at all. Whatever happens, come that day, is going to happen. Other than that, you focus on trying to win games and be as good as you can. So, I’m not too worried, either way.”
“If that’s what it is, I don’t think anybody would say ‘no’ to that, but then, on the other hand, I’m very happy here, too. It has been a tough year, but we’ll see what the next week brings, he added about having the opportunity for another exciting extended playoff run.
“We always worry about things that don’t happen. You take care of what you can control. For families, of course, when there’s uncertainty, they have to deal with it. But that’s privately. It’s not something we live at the rink.”
It appears the Senators’ fire sale is only just beginning. And with today's recent changes to their lineup for this afternoon's game, it may be a matter of a few hours before another deal is made by Dorion and the Senators.