Buckle Up: Sens Are in Playoff Hunt and Looking to Buy

 

With the number of third period comebacks that the Senators have mounted when trailing after two periods, I thought the only people in Ottawa who fretted a deadline were the team’s beat writers. I was wrong.

According to Pierre Lebrun, after having a conversation with Bryan Murray this morning, the Senators’ GM indicated that he would be willing to make additions to his team.

Per ESPN:

“Yes, if we continue to get wins over the next month or so, you want to give your players the best chance you can,” Murray said.

The overall plan hasn’t changed, this is still about long-term stability and building through youth. The Senators have more young players that will push for jobs next season, including world junior championship hero Mike Zibanejad.

But, if there’s something that can help the team that won’t cost too much before Feb. 27, the Senators might jump at it.

I’d be wrong if I didn’t think that some of these older guys on our team didn’t deserve a chance to be helped going into the playoffs, if that’s where we end up,” Murray said.

Murray likes his blueline and said if he adds anything before the deadline, it’ll be up front.

“We’d probably be looking for a forward,” Murray said.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the first highlighted statement reflective of the same logic that preceded last season’s decision to rebuild?

Psst… Bryan… you’ve been trying to help those guys win going into the playoffs for the past few years now. Remember the Matt Cullen and Andy Sutton deals? What about the Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman instead?

Since the team’s appearance in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals, the Senators organization has given their veteran players ever opportunity to recapture whatever magic may be left from that era. The vets have had their chance. For a team that’s largely been carried by the play of its youngest players, they represent this team’s best chance to win. As depressing as it is to realize that Alfie may never have another chance to win a Stanley Cup as a player in Ottawa, management shouldn’t deviate from its big picture strategy.

Of course there’s a palpable sense of enticement that comes naturally whenever the NHL’s talking heads reveal that <insert significant player’s name here> may be available with the right offer. Names like Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber immediately spring to mind. As a surprising upstart team that has had its farm system recognized as one of the best and deepest in the NHL, many fans and media are already asking themselves the question, ‘can Ottawa absorb the loss of a few prospects to give itself a chance to win now?’

Last summer we saw the Los Angeles Kings set the bar for what it would take to acquire a highly regarded player like Mike Richards: second round pick, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn, a prospect that many publications like Hockey Prospectus had tabbed as the best in hockey. Using this as a comparable, one would assume that an Ottawa equivalent to this package would be something like Nick Foligno, Mika Zibanejad and a 1st round draft selection.

In light of how distraught some prospect porn indulging fans were when David Rundblad was shipped out of town, perhaps I should stop and allow some of you readers a bathroom break so that you can go and throw up. (It’s okay, go. The page will still be here when you get back.)

Now where was I?

Ah, yes. Trade discussions…

Another notion that was kicked around by the Ottawa Sun’s ‘Digital Faceoff’ panel was the idea that one of Stefan Noesen or Matt Puempel could figure prominently in any deal that could bring in another forward. Interestingly, Bryan Murray acknowledged that he likes the team’s defence and if a trade was possible, he would prefer to bring in another forward.

That sentiment, when taken at its face value is truly bizarre. For a team that has allowed the second highest number of goals (142); the fourth worst goals allowed per game average (3.23); allowed second highest number of shots per game (31.8); and is the proud owner the seventh worst PK unit, I think we can all agree that it’s worth rolling the dice and risking future assets to bring in a forward who will only push one of Erik Condra, Colin Greening, Chris Neil or Nick Foligno into a fourth line role.

Could Murray’s comments simply be misdirection or some attempt at keeping his players motivated?

I’m not sure. It’s puzzling. For a team that’s certainly playing without the burden of expectations, the possibility of a trade will only serve to invite them.

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