This season, I expected youthful energy and a hungry team. Check. I don't think anyone expected us to be doing this well at any point of the season. Obviously there's so much time before we even think about playoffs. My question is of the rhetorical nature. If, come February, we are on the bubble to make the playoffs, what should we do? I'm not saying I think this will or won't happen - I'm just saying what if... I see 3 possible options.
1- Trade young assets for immediate help (the usual playoff-push type additions).
2- Do not trade for help, and do not trade potential help. Stand pat, and let free agents walk at the end of the year.
3- Build for the future regardless by trading valuable vets for picks and prospects.
Seeing as though we are not a Cup caliber team this year or next (maybe playoff, but definitely not cup), I don't think option 1 is very good. If we are in a playoff position, I think it would be difficult to trade away contributors for future help. If we are on the bubble, I think this option is more easily undertaken, as Murray can say that he made it clear it was a rebuilding year, etc.
This may not be overly popular (with some fans, and especially with vets like Alfie and Phillips), but unless we are in the top 6 in the East, I believe we should move our valuable players for quality picks and prospects. And seeing that we don't have to move anyone, we can hold out for an exceptional return. We are in the middle of a rebuild that, importantly, the fans are behind. Unless we have a real shot at not just the playoffs, but also at the cup, I think we have to maximize our rebuild, aiming to get back to the top of the league, rather than in the middle tier.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you think the Sens should do IF we are on the bubble later in the season...