Zaitsev, Kessel deals give Pens and Leafs flexibility moving forward
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Nikita Zaitsev and forwards Connor Brown and Michael Carcone to the Ottawa Senators for defencemen Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur, forward Aaron Luchuk and a 2020 third-round draft pick.
The draft pick originally belonged to the Columbus Blue Jackets and was acquired by the Senators in February 2018.
Zaitsev, 27, scored three goals and tallied 14 points in 81 regular season games with the Maple Leafs. He played seven playoff games registering zero points as the Maple Leafs were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in game seven of the first round. He requested a trade from the Maple Leafs shortly after playing with Team Russia at the world hockey championship earlier this off-season and waived his no-trade clause to complete the deal.
On May 2, 2017, Zaitsev signed a seven-year $31.5 million contract. He is entering his third year of the contract and carries a $4.5 million cap hit per season. The Russian defenceman has 21 goals and 63 points in 223 career NHL games.
Brown, 25, scored eight goals and tallied 29 points in 82 regular season games with the Maple Leafs. Brown played seven playoff games registering only one point as the Maple Leafs were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in game seven of the first round.
Brown was originally selected by the Maple Leafs 156th overall in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Draft. Brown became a regular in the Leafs lineup in 2016-17 and posted a career-high 20 goals and 36 points. He has failed to top 15 goals in the two seasons since.
The Toronto native has 43 goals and 99 points in 253 career NHL games. In 20 career playoff games, Brown has one goal and five points. He is entering the final season of a three-year, $6.3 million contract and carries a $2.1 million cap hit for this season.
"We're bringing in highly competitive players that we like as long-term fits for our team. Both are the type of true professionals who match with the culture we want to put in place here in Ottawa," Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a team release. "Nikita is a physical right-shot defenceman who defends hard, fills lanes and blocks shots. Connor has scored 20 goals in the league and is excellent on the forecheck and the penalty kill. We feel both players will add to our depth and fit well within the structure we want our team to play."
Carcone, 23, scored 20 goals and posted 44 points in 62 games with the Toronto Marlies and Utica Comets in the AHL this season.
The 25-year-old Ceci scored seven goals and posted 26 points for the Senators this past season.
A 2012 first-round pick. He has been a mainstay in the Senators lineup since the 2013-14 season. He is coming off of a one-year $4.3 million contract and TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports he has verbally agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Maple Leafs for next season.
The Canadian defenceman has 32 goals and 118 points in 440 career NHL games.
Harpur, also a defenceman, appeared in 51 games with the Senators this season, posting one goal and five points. The 24-year-old, who was a fourth-round pick in 2013, has one goal and seven points in 103 career NHL games.
Luchuk, 22, spent time in both the ECHL and AHL this past season. In 27 games with the AHL's Belleville Senators, the centre had four goals and nine points.