Looking at Bryan Murray's moves last season, I wrote that they didn't seem impressive on the surface, but if we looked at them as a bridge to next year, they became a lot more palatable.
Obviously, things didn't go as planned. Injuries to Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, Jared Cowen, Guillaume Latendresse, and Mike Lundin all meant that the players they were supposed to be holding spots for all wound up playing in those spots instead of developing in a less pressure-filled environment. It's a testament to the coaching staffs of both Binghamton and Ottawa, as well as the scouting department, that those players were able to step into roles with more responsibility than originally intended and not fail miserably.
Still, there's a lot of reason to believe that this year's team is the team we were intended to see next year. Outside of a few big names, the team's RFA and UFA lists aren't filled with players crucial to the its future. And while the lockout and subsequent cap lowering and creation of amnesty buyouts were impossible to predict, it's at least interesting that the team is poised to approach the first year of free agency under a new CBA with $14M to spend. It's also probably not coincidence that Murray's contract ends leaving the team with 10 players under the age of 25 on its active roster. In fact, assuming Daniel Alfredsson returns next season, just four players on the roster will be over the age of 30 if no one else is brought in.
And that's to say nothing of the prospects waiting in the wings.
So, of course Murray is going to say he'll look for players to help his team. It's his job to look. But one has to wonder just how hard he'll look given that he just got a preview of what his 2013-14 team is going to look like. Having put together a plan and then seemingly executed it almost to perfection, there doesn't seem to be much incentive for him to make a deal that doesn't meet his price.
After all, if he does nothing, he's got a talented young team that's capable of making noise in the playoffs. It could be that the only real addition the team needs to make is a healthy offseason and training camp, and that everything else has already been planned for all along.
- Looks like Sergei Gonchar could be headed to the KHL next year. He's more likely to get $5M there than here. [Puck Daddy]
- Next year's rookie tournament dates have already been announced. You should go. [Sens Extra]
- Wayne Scanlan sees a lot of positives for next year. [SE]
- Over at WTYKY, worsteverything wants to draft Morrisey. He probably means Joshua Morrissey, but that's not the direction this goes. [WTYKY]
- Bonk's Mullet DOT COM continues its GIF (that's pronounced "jif") tournament. This is fun and you should vote, but I don't know how anyone is going to beat goofy Spezza. [Bonk's Mullet]
- Gregory Campbell's dad is kind of a jerk, but the kid himself went a long way in my eyes by playing most of a penalty kill on a broken leg. [Puck Daddy]
- Adam Proteau says all of the long-term deals will force GMs to rediscover the art of the trade. [The Hockey News]
- Sadly, Andy McDonald has to retire due to concussion symptoms. But the NHL is totally taking the problem seriously. I promise. [True Hockey]
- Finally, changes are coming next year, most importantly, visors are mandatory and grandfathered in. Hopefully that does away with the stupid "Instigator visor" penalty as well. [Puck Daddy]