Don Brennan created quite the late night stir when the Ottawa Sun website published his story that purported Senators GM Bryan Murray had recently shown interest in San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat.
"According to a source, Murray has talked to the San Jose Sharks about acquiring right winger Martin Havlat. The former Senator recently returned from a pelvis injury and was playing on the team's third line until Friday, when coach Todd McLellan made him a healthy scratch.
The Sharks have also been asked about Havlat by the New York Rangers, said the source, but GM Doug Wilson is not yet ready to give up on the 32-year old Czech, who has a goal and an assist in eight games this season."
I admire a GM for doing his due diligence and exhausting all of his options before making a deal, but with a $5 million cap hit and $6 million in real money being owed to Havlat for the final year of his contract that runs through 2013/14, what in the world could he be thinking?
Pundits around the league have praised the Senators for their rebuilding skills, but Martin Havlat’s health should not become part of that discussion. I mean, when his injury history from his TSN bio page reads longer than Meryl Streep’s ‘Filmography’ section from her IMDB page, there’s a problem.
I recognize and understand Ottawa’s concern to bring in another scorer to compliment Jason Spezza. What they have now, simply hasn’t worked.
Spezza has had success playing with players like Greening and Michalek in the past, but for whatever reason, the production just has not developed this season.
As fantastic as it would be to see Mika Zibanejad get a legitimate extended look for a stretch of games, players like Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone allegedly have potential top six upside on the farm. Binghamton’s been playing some good hockey of late, so maybe one or more of their recalls could provide a spark similar to what Jean-Gabriel Pageau provided late last season.
And if they can’t, maybe this team simply good enough to warrant spending the asset(s) necessary to improve at this time.
In his latest over at ESPN.com (hey, no paywall!), Pierre Lebrun spoke with Bryan Murray and outlined where the GM thinks Ottawa’s problems stem from.
"We can't start games, to begin with," Senators GM Bryan Murray told ESPN.com Monday. "We don't move the puck nearly as well as I thought we did last year. We're not playing with the same energy. We played hard every night last year. We’ve kind of lost that identity right now."
Lebrun mentions the GM has been offered a number of deal that essentially amount to salary dumps – which in turn, helps explain why Don Brennan linked the Senators to the Sharks. Moreover, if a Stanley Cup contender like the San Jose Sharks are looking to dump salary and make better use of their cap money, why the hell shouldn’t a small market team like the Senators be looking to do the same with their money?
This organization simply can’t afford to paper over its mistakes like other NHL organizations that spend to the cap ceiling. The Sens have to be fiscally responsible and allocate its limited payroll budget to mitigate against expensive risks like Havlat. Fortunately however, Lebrun mentions that money and the ability to take on a large amount of salary will be a problem for the small market Sens.
Ideally Lebrun adds, the Sens would be interested in acquiring a puck-moving defenceman. For what it’s worth, Patrick Wiercioch and Joe Corvo will be healthy scratches for tonight’s game.
And for those of you worried about some short-sighted deal, don’t expect anything soon.
"I’ve talked to a few teams, and a few teams have called me, but there’s nothing (imminent)," Murray said.