Greetings all, from Skelleftea Sweden. Tonight is March the Third, although I bet over there in Ottawa it's still day. Anyways, it feels like I haven't posted in quite a while. The Trade Deadline has come and gone, more bodies are out in Brian Elliott, Chris Campoli, and the oompa loompa aka Alexei Kovalev. All I can say to Kovalev is, good riddance. Either way, Bryan Murray was given a mission when February started to sell, sell, and sell more. And he sold a lot. I am guessing now Murray and the organization will ride the rest of the season, and check out some junior games both in North American and in Europe. The next focus for the team is June 24th, the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota.
First off, here's my thoughts at the Trade Deadline. Boring, in general. I can't believe Kovy only got a 7th-round pick (possibly 6th), and even though I hate him with a burning passion, a 4th-rounder was more realistic. What I hate now is how Alex will play great in Pittsburgh lead them in the playoffs and everybody will wonder "Why did Ottawa trade him?". And then he will get an increase in salary on July 1st, for a bum who doesn't even deserve 3 mil/year. Rant, too much? However, the Chris Campoli trade was a great one pulled of by Murray. A 2nd-round pick plus a minor-leaguer who (surprise surprise) will play with the Sens the rest of the way. I liked Camper, but it was time for him to go. Brian Lee could play Campoli's minutes, at a much cheaper price.
I'm indifferent about the Chris Phillips re-signing. Good deal for a veteran on the back-end who is going to teach the ropes for young Erik, David, and Jared next season at a discount. However, I'll always wonder what Chris' return would have been if he was dealt. Nevetheless, he's still a Career Senator to me. And for those worrying about possible log-jam on D next season, I would be shocked if Filip Kuba stays with the team come fall. I'll bet a team will be looking to take a chance on Kubes with less term and less money due. A 5th-round pick would do.
And I've decided that I would rather have Nashville float and miss the playoffs, then have them win a round in the playoffs. So I'd rather have the 14th-pick then a 3rd-rounder with this upcoming Draft perceived to be a weak one. A 3rd-round pick won't make as much of a difference as a Top 15 pick. And now that the Deadline has passed, I am almost more than certain the Sens will be drafting a centre. As some wingers in Bingo are emerging themslevesin Ottawa (Butler, Condra, Greening, etc.), I believe Murray (if he is GM by then) will want Couturier or Nugent-Hopkins, just because to win Lord Stanley, you don't need to have 6 Top 6 Forwards. You just need 2 Top 2 Centres. Just look at the recent Cup winners. Gabriel Landeskog is great, but our most prominent need is a centre, not a winger in our depth chart. And right now, I prefer RNH. The question is, will he be like Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and drop a name while going to the NHL? Ryan Nugent? Ryan Hopkins?
And looking at the free agency pool, it's as shallow as ever. Dominated by
Alex Semin, Brad Richards, and Tomas Vokoun, two guys Ottawa should steer away from, I believe Ottawa should sign a back-up goaltender for Anderson (if he is re-signed) and a forward, such as Radim Vrbata. And for a back-up, I'd like Brian Boucher, a comfortable guy to play in the 1-2 role. The number-one priority for me though is re-signing Anderson, Zack Smith, Erik Condra, and Bobby Butler. And an extension for Erik Karlsson.