The Ottawa Senators had a heck of a season. They finished top 5 in goals for, and in the playoffs showed that they have themselves a really good goalie who can win them games.
On the back-end, they find themselves with Norris candidate Erik Karlsson... and not much else. Jared Cowen will hopefully be a wonderful player one day, he certainly showed flashes in his rookie campaign, but Sergei Gonchar is getting on in his years and will be done his career soon, and Filip Kuba is not likely to be back. Gone are the days of Chris Phillips being a solid top-4 d-man. He is better suited these days to 3rd pairing minutes with PK time and a leadership role. Matt Gilroy is not likely to be back, and Matt Carkner is serviceable as a 6th defenseman, but is better suited for the 7th spot on the depth chart.
In terms of prospects, Mark Borowiecki has shown much improvement over the past couple years, but is likely not quite ready, and Patrick Wiercioch has had issues living up to his original promise. Past them, there is not much in the cupboard since the team traded David Rundblad. The draft this weekend will likely feature the Senators choosing a defenseman, but to expect them to step right in is unlikely.
That leaves filling holes by trade or by free agency. The big name out there is Ryan Suter, and he has been discussed ad nauseum. More likely candidates include Bryan Allen, Matt Carle and Pavel Kubina. The pool for that avenue is already dwindling as Brad Stuart signed with the Sharks yesterday and Barret Jackman re-upped with the Blues for another few years.
In terms of trades, there are a couple names out there, but you have to give to get. The two most common I have heard would be Jason Demers (San Jose needs to move a body) or Niklas Hjalmarsson of the Blackhawks (who are always in need of shedding salary).
This all begs the question, based on what you would have to give to get a guy through trade, and the diluted pool for free agency, is it better the devil you know? Should Murray consider bringing back Filip Kuba?
Links after the jump.
- Varada takes the time to talk about one of our most discussed players, Nick Foligno, and what he might look to earn on his upcoming contract. Anything over 3 million a year will be way too much in my opinion. [SSS]
- Here is Varada again, this time looking at what a wacky goalie market means for the Senators, who have two young promising goalies in the system. He rightly points out that the Nashville Predators just got a heck of a return for an unproven back-up goaltender. [WTYKY]
- Nichols looks at the story we talked about yesterday and comes to the conclusion that Columbus might be inflating Rick Nash's return by "creating" more interested parties. [6thSens]
- Here is a really off-beat, cool article from Scanlan that sheds light on the fact that hockey ops people are just that, people. The story centres around Bryan Murray missing the GM meetings a few weeks ago to spend time with his wife. [SensExtra]
- Murray claims that if Erik Karlsson wins the Norris, it will not affect the type of contract he is awarded, but I'm a little skeptical about that. A Norris trophy that young, its a big deal. [Warren]
- Here is a list from Panzeri of 6 players that the Senators might have their eye on when the pick on Friday, and no surprise, three of them are Swedish. [Citizen]
- One such Swede, Hampus Lindholm, finds himself ranked in the area of 15 by central scouting, and is a young Swedish puck moving defenseman, and Ottawa HATES those. He's bigger than Karlsson, at 6'3, and describes himself as a two-way defenseman. I like the sounds of that. Here is a story about him on the Sens website! [Sens]
- Another blue liner that could find himself on the board when the Senators draft, or could be the target of a trade to move up is local product Cody Ceci. He's a offensive force who needs work in his own end, but that can come with time. Lord knows the Sun writers would explode with happiness if the Senators managed to pick him. [Sun]