With the Vancouver Canucks fading fast from playoff contention, Alexandre Burrows insisted he would only agree to waive his no-trade clause for the right fit.
He found a suitor in the Ottawa Senators.
Primed for a post-season push, Ottawa acquired the veteran winger from Vancouver on Monday for prospect Jonathan Dahlen in a deal that brings a skilled pest with plenty of playoff experience to the nation’s capital.
“We had to do something like this,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said prior to his team’s game against the Lightning in Tampa, Fla. “We just felt it was time to add another piece, and in Alex Burrows, I can tell you, we’re ecstatic to have added that piece.”
Burrows, who turns 36 in April, played 822 regular-season games with the Canucks, posting 193 goals, 191 assists and 1,066 penalty minutes.
“I wanted to go to a team that was a good fit for me hockey-wise, but at the same time family-wise,” said Burrows, who has three young children. “There wasn’t really a perfect situation, but I think Ottawa was pretty close to perfect for me.
“It’s a Canadian city, Canadian market. I like their team. I really believe they have a shot at winning. Their window is just opening right now.”
The undrafted free agent who fought his way from the third-tier ECHL to eventually star on Vancouver’s top line has 19 goals and 15 assists in 70 playoff games.
“It’s been a hard day,” said Canucks general manager Jim Benning. “Alex Burrows has been the heart and soul of our franchise for a long time. He’s given us everything that he’s had.”
Set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, there are reports the native of Pincourt, Que., could sign a two-year extension with the Senators as early as Tuesday.
“I think we’ll be able to announce something tomorrow,” said Dorion.
Burrows had four straight seasons of at least 25 goals from 2008-09 to 2011-12 playing largely with Henrik and Daniel Sedin. His best year came in 2009-10 when he scored 35 goals and added 32 assists.
“They are a big part of my career, I’m going to miss them,” said Burrows. “I wish them the best of luck, but now I’ve got to move on and start focusing on my next challenge and that’s to help the Senators with a Stanley Cup.”
The Canucks, meanwhile, were pleased to get the 19-year-old Dahlen, who was selected 42nd overall by Ottawa at the 2016 NHL draft.
The forward has impressed at the international level, registering six points in seven games for Sweden at the 2017 world junior championship and leading his country in scoring with five points in five games at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka under-17 tournament.
“He’s a player we’ve had our eye on,” said Benning, who could also move forward Jannik Hansen and goalie Ryan Miller before Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET. “He’s a goal-scorer, he’s good around the net, he’s sure-handed, he’s got a good nose for the net and he’ll pay the price to get there.”
Burrows was part of Vancouver’s run to the 2011 final and scored the overtime goal in Game 7 of the first-round series that beat the Chicago Blackhawks.
His one regret is he leaves the West Coast with unfinished business.
“It’s difficult because our ultimate goal was to win a Stanley Cup and I almost feel I failed at that challenge,” said Burrows. “It’s a little sad, it stinks, I wish I could have kept playing and pushed for that Stanley Cup. It’s the end of a chapter.”
Burrows’ days as an offensive catalyst are behind him — he has nine goals and 11 assists in 55 games this season — but he will provide sandpaper to a Senators team pressuring the Montreal Canadiens for top spot in the Atlantic Division.
“I’ll try to bring some leadership. I’ll try to bring some passion to the game, some intensity,” said Burrows. “I really believe that if everybody pushes in the right direction and believes they can get there, that’s how you accomplish some big things.”
In Ottawa he will be reunited with Senators assistant coach Marc Crawford — Burrows’ first bench boss with the Canucks — and head coach Guy Boucher, who he played for at the 2012 world championships.
Burrows said he spoke with Boucher on the phone Sunday before the trade was completed.
“He’s a really intense coach, really passionate about the game, really detail oriented,” said Burrows. “He’s got a total buy-in from his hockey club.
“The way he’s handled his team all year, I think they’re looking really strong.”Report Typo/Error