Obviously the hole left by the loss of Erik Karlsson cannot be filled by one person, but it is becoming plainly obvious that the Senators need another defenseman who is capable of providing some offense, if not in terms of points, at least in terms of defensive zone escapability and power play presence.
The Islanders, who the Sens will be playing this afternoon, have two players on their blue line that would provide two things the Senators would want: 1) offensive creativity and power play production; and 2) a contract that expires after this season.
Mark Streit has 11 points in 21 games this season, including 7 points on the power play (2G, 5A). While his -12 rating might be of some concern, remember that he does play for the Islanders, who only have 2 players in the pluses. He leads the Islanders in time on ice, logging more than 25 minutes per game. He is in the final year of a 5 year, $20.5M contract with a cap hit of $4.1M. With cap space not an issue in Ottawa, it would mean the addition of about $1.2M in actual salary for the rest of the season should they acquire him. He has put his time in on the Island, and at 35 years of age, would be likely looking to catch on with a contender next season to try to win a cup, so the Islanders might be willing to move him rather than lose him for nothing in the off-season.
Lubomir Visnovsky, on the other hand, never really wanted to be an Islander to begin with. He was traded at last summer’s draft from the Ducks, and he greived the trade because he thought he had a no-trade clause. He was late reporting to the Islanders, but has 6 points in just 11 games. He has 4 power play assists and is one of the two Islanders skaters with a plus rating of +1. Like Streit, he is in the final year of his contract, carrying a bigger cap hit ($5.6M) but a lower actual salary ($3M). I am sure he would jump at the opportunity to get onto a contender, or at least off the Island. At 36, his time could be running out as well, and you can almost guarantee that he will not be back in New York. Adding Visnovsky would be an additional investment of less than $1M to the current salary, as the cap hit would be inconsequential for Ottawa.
Streit and Visnovsky represent the two best options for providing at least a little bit of what they are missing in Karlsson’s absence, and although neither one of them are going to fill the entire void, a goal here and there would be more than the options currently at Paul MacLean‘s disposal. It might mean giving up a mid-level prospect or draft pick, and it would be up to Bryan Murray to decide if the need and the price are worth it for a rental. The Islanders are still in the playoff hunt, but barely, and if they drop off they might be ready to deal.