OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators announced today the club has acquired defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, forward Connor Brown and forward Michael Carcone from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenceman Cody Ceci, defenceman Ben Harpur, forward Aaron Luchuk and Columbus' third-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft (previously acquired by Ottawa).
"We're bringing in two 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," said general manager Pierre Dorion. "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, aged 27, scored three goals and added 11 assists for 14 points while averaging 20:28 of time on ice with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. The Moscow native has played in three NHL seasons, scoring 12 goals and adding 51 assists for 63 points in 223 games. He has also appeared in 18 playoff games with Toronto over the last three seasons.
The 6-2, 193-pound, Zaitsev played for his native Russia at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and represented his country at the IIHF World Championships in 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2019, winning bronze in both 2016 and 2019. He also played for Russia at the 2010 and 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships, winning gold in 2011.
Zaitsev signed with Toronto as a free agent on May 2, 2016, after leading CSKA Moscow (KHL) defencemen in goals and points in both 2014-15 and 2015-16. In both seasons before his arrival in the NHL, he was named to the KHL's First All-Star team.
Brown, aged 25, scored eight goals and added 21 assists for 29 points, while playing in all 82 games for Toronto for the third consecutive season. The 6-0, 183-pound Toronto native has played in 253 career NHL games, all with Toronto, scoring 43 goals and adding 56 assists for 99 points. He played all 16 Maple Leafs playoff games over the last three seasons.
Selected by Toronto in the sixth round (156th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, Brown led all AHL rookies with 61 points and was an AHL All-Star in his one full AHL season with the Toronto Marlies in 2014-15. In his final year of junior hockey, Brown led the entire Canadian Hockey League in points (128) with Erie in 2013-14.
An undrafted free agent, Carcone was signed by the Vancouver Canucks in July of 2016, playing parts of three seasons with the Utica Comets before being dealt to Toronto on Dec. 3, 2018, in exchange for Josh Leivo. In 62 AHL games last season, the right winger set career highs in goals (20), assists (24) and points (44).
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