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Senators must choose today whether to forfeit seventh overall pick


The clock is ticking on the Ottawa Senators to decide whether to forfeit the seventh overall pick in this year's draft, or push the decision to next year.

The NHL announced in November that Ottawa would forfeit a first-round pick as a result of punishment stemming from their 2021 trade that sent Evgenii Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights and the subsequent, invalidated trade that would have sent the forward to the Anaheim Ducks in March 2022.

"Ottawa will forfeit its first-round draft pick in one of the 2024, 2025 or 2026 Drafts," the league said in a release at the time. "The determination as to which pick will be forfeited will be made by Ottawa within 24 hours of the conclusion of the Draft Lottery for that year. The league will have no further comment on the matter."

The draft lottery was held Tuesday, with the Senators staying put at seventh overall. 

Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reports he expects the Senators to hold on to this year's pick, noting president and general manager Steve Staios and vice president Dave Poulin have "stepped up their scouting to prepare for this draft."

The Senators fired former general manager Pierre Dorion on the same day the punishment for the Dadonov trade was handed out by the league. Staios, who was president at the time, took over general manager duties in the interim before being named the full-time replacement in late December.

Parting ways with Dorion was one part of a tumultuous first season as an NHL owner for Michael Andlauer, with the Senators also firing head coach D.J. Smith in-season and losing centre Shane Pinto to a 41-game suspension for actions related to sports betting. 

Ottawa missed the playoffs this season for the seventh straight year. The team hired head coach Travis Green on Wednesday with a four-year contract after playing out last season under interim head coach Jacques Martin after Smith was let go.

Recapping the Dadonov fallout

The Senators traded Dadonov to Vegas for defenceman Nick Holden and a third-round pick in July 2021. Ottawa failed to inform Vegas that Dadonov had a 10-team no-trade clause, which caused trouble at the 2022 trade deadline.

The Golden Knights traded Dadonov and a second-round pick to the Ducks in exchange for defenceman John Moore and Ryan Kesler's contract ahead of the deadline. The deal, however, was cancelled by the league two days later because the Ducks were one of the teams on Dadonov's no-trade list.

"The trade could not be concluded because Dadonov’s contract includes a limited no-trade clause, which has not been complied with," the league said in a release at the time.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported at the time that neither the Ducks nor Golden Knights were aware that Anaheim was on Dadonov's list. 

"We appreciate the league’s diligence on this matter and respect the decision," the Golden Knights said after the punishment was announced. "The club will have no further comment."

Dadonov, who currently plays with the Dallas Stars, first joined the Senators as a free agent in 2020, inking a three-year, $15 million deal. He was traded to Vegas after just one season and, after the failed trade to the Ducks, was moved again in the 2022 off-season to the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens flipped Dadonov to the Stars at the trade deadline last February.