Given the success the Senators have continued to have accumulating points in the standings, it’d be unfair to describe the team’s blue line being held together by glue, a wish and a prayer, but without Jared Cowen, Erik Karlsson and more recently, Marc Methot, the current collection of talent on the backend probably has casual fans around the league scratching their heads and wondering who exactly many of these guys are.
Andre Benoit, Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba aren't exactly household names.
Keeping that in mind, coupled with the possibility that Sergei Gonchar could depart as an unrestricted free agent this summer, it’s certainly not surprising to see the Senators linked in trade talks to defencemen playing for non-playoff teams.
The Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak reports that the Senators have inquired on the Flames’ Jay Bouwmeester writing:
"The buzz surrounding Flames defenceman Jay Bouwmeester has the Red Wings, Flyers, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators all sniffing around."
Who knows how serious Ottawa’s level of interest in Bouwmeester is?
One could simply chalk it up to management doing its due diligence. Or these rumours could be the work of the other party leaking or putting out information in the media to artificially expand a market with the intent to improve trade returns or fuel more league interest.
Whatever the case, the organization, led by Bryan Murray, has been consistent in its adamant proclamations that it will not – “give up a top young player at this point, but if there's an ability to acquire someone who can help us as we go forward, absolutely."
As a defenceman who turns 30 in September, carries a cap hit of $6.68M and becomes an unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the 2013/14 season, I don’t believe Bouwmeester’s situation is a good match for Ottawa. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player who probably does not get as much credit as he should, but as Tyler Dellow illustrated last week, he may not be the "puck-moving defenceman" everyone thinks he is. Besides, I just can’t envision him passing up the opportunity to get that last big payday and maximize his worth on the open market.
Throw in the fact that Bouwmeester has a no-trade clause and the presumed likelihood that Calgary would want some NHL-ready young talent for J-Bo (mind you, I may be underestimating the Jay Feaster factor here), and I just can’t see a trade involving Ottawa coming to fruition.
Rumours, More Rumours…
In his primer for the NHL trade deadline, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch indicates that the Senators are looking for a top six forward and Matt Cullen could be one option. Although, his scoring touch seems to have left him (4 goals in 30GP with Minnesota), he does however have 20 assists this season. It's important to keep in mind that Cullen hasn't eclipsed the 40-point threshold since the 2009/10 season in which he was acquired by the Senators. And as of this moment, the Wild are currently the third seed in the Western Conference. How eager will they be to sell some pieces while the team is having success?
Garrioch concluded his Senators section of his deadline primer by mentioning that the names to watch get moved by the Senators are: Colin Greening, Peter Regin and Ben Bishop. Although my preference is to see the organization sell high on Craig Anderson and give the number one starter's job over to Lehner, I can't really disagree with any of the names that Bruce mentioned. Although, it could potentially be better for the organization to reunite Greening with Spezza when the latter returns to health. Should their chemistry return, it would do wonders to boost Greening's value before considering flipping him.