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TSN's Craig Button says Artyom Zub could be a good addition for the Ottawa Senators

Russia's Artyom Zub, right, battles Slovakia's Tomas Syrovy during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung in February 2018.
Russia's Artyom Zub, right, battles Slovakia's Tomas Syrovy during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung in February 2018.

The Ottawa Senators will have to wait to make the signing of Artyom Zub official.

While it’s believed the Senators are close to an agreement with the 24-year-old Zub, who has spent the past four seasons with St. Petersburg SKA in the Kontinental Hockey League, the expectation is the deal may not be made official until his contract overseas expires April 30.

There’s a belief that Zub can step in and play the shutdown role left vacant by Dylan DeMelo’s trade to the Winnipeg Jets at the deadline in February. He won a gold medal with Team Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea and those who have seen him have been impressed.

“There is zero downside or negativity in signing these player,” said Craig Button, TSN’s director of scouting and a former NHL general manager, in a text message. “They’re older, they are much more ready for the NHL and it doesn’t cost much to give them a chance. It’s the old; “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
He has always been a good skater who could hold his own in different areas of the game.”

Yes, Zub had 13 goals and 21 points in 57 games with St. Petersburg, but Button doesn’t believe the Senators will be able to count on him for offence because that’s simply not his game and that’s not why they’re signing him because they already have Thomas Chabot to play that role.

“He moves the puck efficiently and defends with a good understanding. He’s not a physical force but is certainly no pushover and he competes well,” Button added.

Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion and assistant GM Peter MacTavish both went overseas separately to see Zub and were impressed. More than 20 teams were looking at Zub before he selected the club’s offer.

“Not a dynamic player but one who you know what you’re going to get,” said Button, who added teams were probably attracted to Zub by his offence. “Players who you think can help and don’t cost you much, if anything, are worth the effort.”

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter: @sungarrioch

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