“Win as a team, lose as a team” has probably been the Ottawa Senators’ mantra all season long. Historically, Bryan Murray has not been overly busy at the trading deadline. Rental players and older players will move around as teams try to shore up weaknesses and add depth wherever they need it. How does the trade deadline fit into a rebuild program that’s closer to the halfway mark than to its final resolution?
I fully expect Bryan Murray to stand pat as he has all season long. If he breaks from his stance it will likely be for a depth defenseman or an offer for Ben Bishop that he can’t say no to. Andre Benoit and Mike Lundin have performed to mixed reviews throughout the year so it’s not unconceivable that a rugged D-man might be an affordable and reasonable asset to pick up. Both Benoit and Lundin will be UFAs by season’s end and it’s likely that neither will be retained unless Murray can convince Benoit to stay in the fold to lead the B-Sens’ defense next season.
TOP SIX FORWARDS
Of course, top six forwards are on just about everyone’s wish list and they are few and far between. Murray will not be playing that game as too many other GMs are likely to overpay in an effort to keep their jobs - if their teams are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs or if they need an extra body for a potential playoff run.
And why isn’t Ben Bishop going to be going anywhere? Because Murray has been on a mission where the rebuild is concerned and the current roster with all its injuries is still completely capable of surprising any of their Eastern Conference opponents come the playoffs. Every game that Bishop plays and wins suggests that he has the ability to be more than a backup. He could be ready to take the reins and lockdown a starter’s job. A starter in this league is worth more than the 2nd round pick that Murray used to acquire him – enough said.
ENTRY DRAFT DEAL
Murray has big plans this summer’s Entry Draft. You heard it here first – Bryan Murray will be going after one of the top three picks this summer. Bishop’s trade value will be at its highest. Injured players will be recuperating. While the massive injuries that the Senators’ sustained were horrible on one hand, on the other they presented an opportunity for the call ups and lesser stars to receive more ice time. To a man, every one stepped up. As a result, Murray has a glut of NHL players ready to become regulars. The ripple effect of the lockout season, the injuries and the call ups meant that the B-Sens were forced to use players further down their depth chart too. Their players rose to the occasion and they’ve developed quicker and/or have gotten their development back on track to raise their profiles within the organization. At the end of the day – Entry Draft Day – Murray will have OPTIONS. He’ll be able to wheel and deal to get what the Senators need and he won’t have to gut his team to do it; one or two steps forward and NO STEPS BACK.
FUTURE SENATOR – NATHAN MacKINNON
The Senators will go after a top three player. My best guess is Nathan MacKinnon – as less projection is typically needed for forwards. Jason Spezza’s back injury showed that Ottawa should start to think about finding another centerman with the ability to control and dominate games. And with Daniel Alfredsson’s retirement looming this year or next the time to act is now. When will there ever be a better time than this summer?
From HFBOARDS.com - “A superstar in the making since an early age, MacKinnon provides a very complete combination of speed and skill. He is an amazing skater with fantastic puckhandling. MacKinnon has the ability to make quick plays and score flashy goals, but isn’t shy about battling for the puck in front of the net either. He is surprisingly physical and owns a great shot to go along with quick hands.”
Would Nathan MacKinnon look good in a Senators uniform?