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The Ottawa Senators Could Be Trade Deadline Sellers and Buyers

Mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the Ottawa Senators are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline, but some believe they might still look to be buyers.
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Mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the Ottawa Senators are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. However, TSN's Pierre LeBrun indicates they could also be buyers by using their cap space to shape their roster for next season.

Cap Friendly shows the Senators carrying $70.99 million in projected salary-cap payroll this season, well below the league's $81.5 million cap. They can create more room by trading pending unrestricted free agents such as Chris Tierney, Josh Brown, Tyler Ennis, Nick Paul and Anton Forsberg, though they could re-sign the latter two.

The Athletic's Ian Mendes took note of general manager Pierre Dorion recently telling TSN 1200 his team could trade some draft picks and prospects for immediate help. Mendes is against shopping their 2022 first-rounder but felt it could be worthwhile if it would land someone like the Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser, the Minnesota Wild's Kevin Fiala or the Columbus Blue Jackets' Patrik Laine.

Boeser, Fiala and Laine are restricted free agents this summer with arbitration rights who could prove difficult for their current clubs to re-sign. They're also a year away from UFA eligibility.

A top-10 draft pick packaged with another pick and/or one or two prospects could bring one of them to Ottawa. However, it would probably take a massive contract offer to ensure they don't bolt via free agency next year.

Dorion could instead target cap-strapped clubs looking to shed a player under a long-term contract. Given recent reports suggesting the Canucks could make cost-cutting moves to seek salary-cap flexibility, perhaps the Senators GM targets Conor Garland. Cap Friendly indicates the 25-year-old winger carries a $4.95 million annual cap hit through 2025-26 and lacks no-trade protection.

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