The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown, and Michael Carcone to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk and a 2020 third-round draft pick, the clubs announced Monday.
“We’re bringing in highly competitive players that we like as long-term fits for our team,” GM Pierre Dorion said via a team release. “Both are the type of true professionals who match with the culture we want to put in place here in Ottawa. 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.”
Zaitsev, 27, leaves Toronto after three seasons, during which he amassed 63 points and averaged 21:31 minutes per game. Also heading to Ottawa is Brown, 25, who posted 29 points for the Maple Leafs in 2018-19, and 23-year-old Carcone, who put up 27 points for the AHL Marlies.
The 25-year-old Ceci heads to the Leafs after six years with the Senators, wherein he posted a total of 118 points while averaging 21:04 minutes per game. Harpur, 24, posted five points through 51 games for the Senators in 2018-19, while 22-year-old Luchuk 22 points through 32 games at the ECHL last season, followed by nine points for AHL Belleville.
Ceci and Carcone both remain unsigned at the moment, with the defender and forward both restricted free agents. New Leafs Harpur carries a $725,000 cap hit, while Luchuk carries a $759,166 cap hit. As for Ottawa’s books, Zaitsev’s current deal carries a $4.5-million cap hit for the next five seasons, while Brown carries a $2.1-million cap hit.
With the deal in tow, the Maple Leafs now have a projected $11.4 million in cap space, per CapFriendly, while the Senators now have $27.1 million in projected cap space.