The Market For Defencemen Is Set

With yesterday’s announcement that Nicklas Grossman had been dealt by the Dallas Stars to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2012 second round pick and a 2013 third rounder, it not only took one of the better d-man rentals off of the trade market, it set the market value for what other organizations could seek for players of their own.

Here in the nation’s capital, the big question surrounding the Senators is not whether the organization will move prospects or draft picks for a rental. Instead, many are wondering whether Bryan Murray will entertain offers for aging veteran blueliners like Filip Kuba (impending UFA with a $3.7M cap hit) or Sergei Gonchar ( 1 year left with a $5.5M cap hit and NTC) and move them (if the price is right). Although they’re not 27 years of age and carry only a $1.625 million cap hit like Grossman, both players can log some significant ice-time while offering some Stanley Cup contenders some qualities and depth on the blue line.

Through a few outlets, we’ve seen suggestions that the organization is willing to listen to offers on these players but there is a delicate balance to be struck in this situation. With the Senators currently occupying the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, how does the organization weigh its unexpected short-term success with the rebuilding philosophy that it embraced in the latter stages of the 2010-11 season?

Will the organization move either of these players to augment its bevy of young prospects or will it prefer the values and experience that a potential playoff berth could have on its young players?

It’s interesting predicament and to be honest, I don’t believe that there are any right or wrong answers. Both sides of the discussion can make a compelling case.

That being said, the fact that a team like the Stars, that has one game in hand and is only four points removed from the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, is willing to move an asset that they would have lost for nothing this summer certainly adds to the conversation.

Have at it in the comment thread…

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