Forward Dylan Gambrell has been traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a seventh-round selection in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The seventh round selection in question originally belonged to the San Jose Sharks and was traded to Ottawa early last season. On Jan. 21, 2021, the Sharks acquired forward Jack Kopacka from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defender Trevor Carrick. The Sharks then packaged Kopacka with the seventh-round pick to acquire defender Christian Jaros from the Senators.
Plugging Gambrell into that trade tree ultimately shakes out as Kopacka and Gambrell for Jaros, which feels a bit lopsided, but cap space is an asset too, and Gambrell comes with a $1.1 million price tag. He signed a one-year, one-way deal with San Jose in July and will be a restricted free agent next summer.
A seventh-rounder feels a bit low for the 25-year-old, who was originally drafted in the second round (60th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, but the Senators could’ve snagged him for free at the start of the season, when he passed through waivers after failing to make the Sharks’ opening night roster. Even so, waiting was still advantageous to the Sens, who have to option to assign him to their AHL team without making him pass through waivers again.
That might be unlikely, though, as, a bit ironically, center Shane Pinto was injured in the Senators’ loss to the Sharks last week and will miss some time. Gambrell has largely been tasked with fourth-line duties when with the big club, but it wouldn’t be the first time a player went from San Jose to Ottawa and suddenly jumped two lines above where they should be playing.
Gambrell has earned a better look at the NHL, playing 110 games over the last four seasons, notching 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists), but time is also running out for him to prove himself. He was outplayed by too many forwards in the Sharks’ preseason and he was leap-frogged by young talent in the depth chart. It’s also true that over the last couple of seasons, the Sharks’ coaching staff have had strange expectations for forward prospects, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Gambrell does thrive under different utilization.
Since being assigned to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda this season, Gambrell has gone scoreless in three games, taking two minor penalties. Over 69 career games (nice), Gambrell has posted 57 points (23 goals, 34 assists), .83 points per game, and served 37 penalty minutes.