Ottawa’s Enticing Trade Package For Del Zotto

Hey, remember those rumours that Ottawa was kicking the tires on New York Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto? 

And hey, why wouldn't the Rangers want to move Del Zotto for a package involving 2/3 of Ottawa's fourth line and/or Ottawa's seventh or eighth defenceman? 

Mind you, it's not like Del Zotto's lit the world on fire this season either. He's spent the duration of the season in Alain Vigneault's doghouse, but apparently they still see enough value there to rebuff Ottawa's fantasy league attempts to trim their fat and parlay replaceable 'talent' for an underachieving player who may still have some upside. 

You can look at Ottawa's willingness to move this collection of players in a number of different ways…

Foremost, by making Colin Greening available — just two months after he inked a 3-year contract that carries an average annual value of $2.65M — it certainly seems like the Senators are willing to admit that they made a mistake by trying to rid themselves of his contract; especially since his extension contains a NTC that will seriously limit the trade market for him beyond this season.

Whether you still think it's too early in this season to give up on Greening, keep in mind that there were some significant statistical warning signs that Greening was trending in the wrong direction. 

Here’s a look at Greening's production at 5v5 the past three seasons from a post that I published at the time of the signing:

Season
G/60
PTS/60
2010/11
1.13
2.45
2011/12
0.70
1.57
2012/13
0.60
1.51

And here's an excerpt from that same post:

Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that Greening scored 40 of his 50 points from his first two seasons in the league while Jason Spezza was on the ice. (Note: According to Hockeyanalysis.com, no other Senators forward played more with Greening in 2010/11 and 2011/12 than Spezza.)

Now obviously the season ending injury to Spezza (back surgery), helps explain why Greening’s production rates have dropped, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. It ignores the fact Jakob Silfverberg bumped Greening to a bottom six role where he ineffectively played the bulk of his minutes alongside Zack Smith and Chris Neil.

Too often last year, this line expended their energy chasing the puck without much result. Each of them saw their offensive production take a hit because they were too focused on trying to dole them out – the trio finished first (Neil), second (Smith) and third (Greening) amongst Senators forwards in hits.

So while Greening’s contract isn’t terrible, it could look bad provided he continues to be misused again playing on a bottom six line with these two.

To this point, he hasn’t proven that he can be as effective of a player away from Spezza. On too many occasions, it felt like his intensity level or willingness to impose himself on the opposition, just wasn’t at the same levels that they had been in previous seasons. We did see more of it in the postseason, but there’s no question that Greening needs to bring these elements more consistently.

Umm… so yeah, kudos to the Senators for overvaluing one of its own 'young players', failing to move him at his peak point of value, ignoring the statistical warning signs and locking him up at an extension that includes a movement clause before realizing their mistake and trying to move him at his lowest point of value.

Nothing says smart small market hockey decision-making like that… 

Of course, there's always the possibility that Greening was thrown into the mix with a guy like Erik Condra or Eric Gryba to help balance out the dollars. Dollar-for-dollar trades y'all. 

But if a team like the Rangers isn't willing to make that move, what does that say about how much the Senators fall in love with their own players and overvalue the ones that they've developed internally? On most teams, these third or fourth line players/PK specialists and bottom pairing/depth defencemen are redundant.

Hey, at least this team hasn't hit rock bottom yet in regards to moving players to free up cash. There's still time for Murray to start offering draft picks with guys like Kassian, Corvo and O'Brien to free up cash.

Buckle up. 

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