Blackhawks acquire D-man Nikita Zaitsev, picks from Senators

DALLAS (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired Nikita Zaitsev and draft picks from the Ottawa Senators for future considerations in what amounts to a salary dump ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

The teams announced the deal Wednesday prior to the Blackhawks’ game at the Dallas Stars. Chicago got a 2023 second-round pick and 2026 fourth in exchange for taking on the remainder of Zaitsev’s contract.

“We’re pleased to afford Nikita a fresh start,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement. “He’s a pro’s pro who showcased himself to be a caring teammate and quiet leader throughout his Sens tenure. We’re thankful for his time in Ottawa and wish he and his family the best in his next chapter.”

Zaitsev, 31, is signed through next season at a salary cap hit of $4.5 million. Last-place Chicago now has the ability to flip the Russian defenseman to another team before the March 3 trade deadline or at any time over the next year.

For now, the Blackhawks are keeping him.

“Nikita gives us added depth on the right side, and we anticipate him joining us soon,” Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson said. “We are getting an NHL caliber defenseman and acquiring very valuable draft capital in this upcoming draft and beyond.”

The trade came hours after Vegas and Arizona also made a cap-related deal, with the Golden Knights sending the contract of retired 37-year-old Shea Weber and a draft pick to the Coyotes for defenseman Dysin Mayo.

Zaitsev has five goals in 28 games this season. He has 110 points in 444 NHL regular-season and playoff games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Senators.


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