Ever since Brian Lee was sent down to the AHL, there has been speculation that he is no longer in Ottawa's plans. There were plenty of rumours going around, even some that involved the Blue Jackets, but Peter and I ignored them because they were not all that credible. Today, Aaron Portzline, beat reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, wrote that the Blue Jackets have made a call inquiring about Lee:
No trade is imminent. In fact, it's possible that no trade specifics have even been discussed, but the Blue Jackets have made a call to Ottawa. One must wonder if Lee wouldn't be part of a package coming the Blue Jackets' way should they decide to trade prospect forward Nikita Filatov.
That second part is where it gets very interesting, but it's probably not so much a rumour as it is Portzline putting 2 and 2 together. Filatov is a player who likely will get traded from Columbus at some point, given that he and coach Ken Hitchcock don't really fit together and he's already booked it to Russia, but one has to assume the package he could garner around the league is better than one the Senators can offer that includes Lee. I could be wrong, of course, if most GMs feel Filatov won't ever come back to the NHL. Filatov certainly fills a huge hole in the Senators organization: a dynamic, blue-chip offensive prospect, something that the Senators haven't had in their system since, well, Jason Spezza. Assuming part of the package is Lee, I'd have to assume the other would be a forward (Regin, Shannon, Winchester being the most attractive to Columbus, although I'd hate to see Winnie leave), and/or a pick.
Assuming the Blue Jackets are interested in Lee, who could the Sens be looking at acquiring? Outside of Filatov, Kris Russell is perhaps the most obvious. Anytime the Jackets come into trade rumours, Bryan Murray's love for the undersized offensive d-man is mentioned. Given that the team already has Erik Karlsson, though, I just don't see what Kris Russell offers. Other prospects that Murray would be interested in (Cody Goloubef, John Moore) are almost certainly off limits, and there aren't really any obtainable NHL-ready forwards that fill any of the Senators needs. I suppose prospect Maksim Mayorov is intriguing - a 6'2" Russian who potted 17 goals in his first AHL season.
Then again, maybe it's the most obvious trade of all: Alexandre Picard for Alexandre Picard.
So, my question to you is this: do the Blue Jackets have someone on their roster that you think the Senators could make a successful pitch for? If not, what do you think it would take to get Nikita Filatov, and is he worth the risk? It's important to remember that this is all just speculation, and the only confirmation is that the Blue Jackets have called expressing interest.
Also, be sure to check out the reaction from fellow SBN blog The Jacket on this issue.