Our first finalist in the Pierre Dorion’s Best Trade Tournament is the deal that sent J-G Pageau to the New York Islanders. Unlike many of the deals that have become favorites in this tournament, including the second of today’s semi-finalists, the Pageau deal looked good for Ottawa from the start. There was no need for luck, or for unexpected prospect development, or for anything else. It was just a super clean piece of business, in which Dorion extracted full value from a pending-UFA. To see which deal will face off against the Pageau trade in the final, let’s get to today’s matchup:
This year, the Senators found themselves in a spot where they felt they needed NHL bodies on the roster so that they could keep developing prospects in Belleville for a competitive run. Dorion acquired Namestnikov for pennies on the dollar, and the player immediately came in and provided a spark. He was really quite good for his first handful of games with Ottawa, more than justifying the acquisition price. While his production and performance fell off a cliff as the season moved along, it’s hard to argue with the rationale or cost involved in this trade. It was a no-risk move that provided a small bit of benefit earlier in the season.
When this trade was made, people thought Pierre Dorion was acquiring quantity rather than quality for a superstar asset. Hindsight suggests that he acquired both quantity AND quality for an asset about to lose significant value due to injury concerns. The perfect storm that has occurred since this deal was completed makes it look infinitely better than it did in September 2018, and nobody in Ottawa is complaining about it. Chris Tierney has been a solid NHL producer for the Senators. Dylan DeMelo established himself as one of the league’s most underrated defenders prior to being moved. Josh Norris turned every head possible in the American Hockey League this year. Rudolfs Balcers remains tremendously promising. Oh, and then there’s that 2020 first-round pick still to come. The fact that it was San Jose’s pick, and not Ottawa’s own, that gives this team a shot at either Byfield or Stutzle makes this trade a huge win.
Trading Karlsson was always going to be a franchise-defining move for Pierre Dorion. A little bit of luck seems to have made it a superb one. Few would have predicted that Norris would develop in the way that he has, and that the Sharks would be bad enough to hand Ottawa such a high pick.