Tuesday saw the Ottawa Senators relegate Zack Smith to the waiver wire, which caught more than a few people by surprise.
Darren Dreger had a Tuesday appearance on The Drive on Ottawa’s TSN 1200, and was asked for his read on the situation.
“I was a bit surprised for sure,” indicated Dreger. “Originally when word was starting to percolate that Smith wasn’t on the ice, your Spidey Senses start tingling a little bit and you start poking around. It would be no secret to anyone listening to know that the Ottawa Senators have tried to trade Zack Smith dating back to the trade deadline, and perhaps even before that.
“My sense is that there was interest - legit interest - in Zack Smith, but the Ottawa Senators would have preferred draft picks, they didn’t want to have to take a contract back. When you’ve got this year plus two more remaining on a contract at $3.25 million, that’s a tough one for even the most interested team.
“So I think that based on all of that, the Ottawa Senators maybe, simply to just unload that contract, felt that the best option was to place him on waivers and see if someone bites.”
Smith is in the second season of his four-year, $13 million contract, which carries a $3.25 million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause, through which he can submit a 10-team no-trade list.
At one point during the Smith-related questioning, Dreger was asked if he had any idea which teams may have expressed some interest or had a conversation with general manager Pierre Dorion about the center at some point in the past.
“Well, define ‘past,’” said Dreger. “I mean, if we want to go back prior to the trade deadline, Calgary I think kicked tires, maybe Edmonton had some interest. It was legit, but nothing that I think went too far down the path.
“Again, when you look at the money that Zack Smith is still owed contractually - even though he’s regarded as a decent centerman, and on good teams is going to give you that gritty edge in your third/fourth hole - at 3.25 that was a tough sell, especially if Ottawa had no interest in Ottawa taking a contract back.”
Contract-related info via CapFriendly