When Bryan Murray signed a contract extension earlier this month, there was a clear shift in language from an organization that had labelled itself as a “rebuilding team” the past few seasons. The goal for this team is clear- to win a Stanley Cup with Bryan Murray as General Manager.
And while that doesn’t necessarily mean making a serious run this season, Bryan Murray and his staff are expected to keep a close all on all trade options leading up to the deadline. Eugene Melnyk has been adamant about giving Murray the budget increase to add a piece to this line up if he feels it can help this team qualify for the playoffs.
The Senators have come up in plenty of rumours already with the trade deadline still more than a month away. Teams have until March 5th to make a deal but the talk is already starting to heat up around the league.
-Matt Moulson’s name has come up and will continue to circulate leading up to the deadline. Just can’t see the Senators paying the price required to get this deal done. There will be plenty of other serious contenders looking to add a goal scorer like Moulson and in the end, one of those teams is likely going to pay a steeper price than the Senators are willing to. Mike Cammalleri and Ray Whitney are a couple other forwards that will be seriously looked at by contending teams.
-Ottawa and Edmonton have talked trade all season long. The Oilers had a very serious interest in Colin Greening at one point but nothing came of those talks. Not everybody seems sold on the guy but assuming he comes at a reasonable price, Ales Hemsky would be a quality rental. Now of course that only works if Hemsky can stay healthy. That has been an issue all season and most of his career, really.
-On Friday, three Senators scouts turned up at the Colorado/Florida game which had people scrambling for potential Panthers or Avalanche players the Sens might be interested in. Not so fast as this was a scouting mission based on convenience more than anything as the team had just wrapped up their scouting meetings in Florida and decided to catch a game before heading home. Although Brad Boyes and Tom Gilbert are both textbook rentals.
-An article by Bruce Garrioch over the weekend sure make it sound like the Senators have tempered expectations a little bit following all the excitement that was generated after some ambitious statements the day GM Bryan Murray was extended. A rental is no longer a sure thing and almost seems unlikely before the Olympic break. The next two weeks are going to be tough for the Senators and will give Management a much better idea where they stand heading into the deadline.
-One trade that was talked about early in the season but never came to fruition was a Milan Michalek for Derek Morris swap. The Coyotes definitely had an interest in Michalek but apparently wanted to wait until a little closer to the deadline to minimize the cost. Meanwhile, from Ottawa’s perspective, I would assume the interest in Morris has faded with Cody Ceci in the lineup and playing well. If the Senators decide they want to move Michalek, it would be worth calling the Coyotes to see if there’s still an interest.
-The Senators are sort of right on the fence between buyer and seller which can be an awkward place to be leading up to the trade deadline. One player they’ll have to make a decision on soon is Chris Phillips. A UFA at season’s end, Phillips obviously wants to stay here in Ottawa. The two sides talked extension earlier in the season but there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of desperation from either side. The Boston Bruins apparently have an interest in Phillips but I can’t imagine they are willing to give up a whole lot to acquire him. Still think the preference is to keep Phillips here in Ottawa.