With the acquisition of Matt Cullen, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray is likely done bolstering the forwards for his team. On the blue line, however, it's a different story, and Murray has said he is likely not done making deals--and picking up a defenceman is on his to-do list.
Murray has plenty of options looking for a defenceman to build up the Senators defence corps, but his hands are tied by a few factors: His inability to take on much in terms of long-term salary likely means an impending UFA is the best bet (so don't count on Brian Campbell returning to his junior hockey home), and his unwillingness to give up much from the current roster or in bona fide future assets will restrict the calibre of player who comes to Ottawa.
With that in mind, Murray will likely have a few options, and I'll look into them in more detail after the jump: Pavel Kubina (Atlanta Thrashers), Aaron Ward (Carolina Hurricanes), Brett Clark (Colorado Avalanche), Trevor Daley (Dallas Stars), Dennis Seidenberg (Florida Panthers), Jordan Leopold (Panthers), Marek Zidlicky (Minnesota Wild), Andy Sutton (New York Islanders), and Darryl Sydor (St. Louis Blues).
#77 / Defenseman / Atlanta Thrashers
Apr 15, 1977
2009-10 cap hit: $5M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Pavel Kubina||59||5||29||34||6||48||2||0||1||0||119||4.2|
Kubina would likely be the biggest move Murray could make on defence. He puts up big points (he's 15th in the league in points heading into the Olympic break) and averages over 22 minutes per game TOI. He would immediately improve the Senators defence, falling likely into a spot as the third defenceman on a pairing with fellow Czech Filip Kuba, or perhaps even with rookie Erik Karlsson as the offensive pairing. He's got a physical edge, and the size to back it up, and has a Stanley Cup ring. He wouldn't be cheap, but would be a huge acquisition. Making his $5M cap hit fit under the cap, though, would be a significant challenge for Murray.
#4 / Defenseman / Carolina Hurricanes
Jan 17, 1973
2009-10 cap hit: $2.5M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Aaron Ward||60||1||10||11||-17||54||0||0||0||0||32||3.1|
The Senators just swung a deal with Carolina, why not another? Ward's a defensive defenceman by trade, who's tough and not afraid to throw some weight around in the defensive end--perhaps a good partner for Matt Carkner to have on the Senators' third defensive pairing. His offensive capabilities are limited, but if he was brought in, it wouldn't be to score goals. His cap hit is manageable, and he wouldn't likely come with a high cost. Would be a good option for Murray to look for.
#5 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche
Dec 23, 1976
2009-10 cap hit: $3.5M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Brett Clark||54||3||14||17||10||24||2||0||1||0||66||4.5|
Clark may not be on the block, given Colorado's current standing in the Western Conference standings, but they've got a logjam on defence and may be looking to clear that up and get some value for a pending UFA at the same time. If so, and if the cost is reasonable, Clark would be a solid if unspectacular player for Ottawa's second or third defence pairing.
#6 / Defenseman / Dallas Stars
Oct 09, 1983
2009-10 cap hit: $2.3M
2010-11 cap hit: $2.3M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Trevor Daley||56||3||9||12||-1||15||1||0||1||0||75||4.0|
Daley isn't nearly the Earth-shattering acquisition Kubina would be, but he would solidify the Senators defence. He's having an off-season with the Stars this season, but could be valuable as a depth defenceman. He's a little too expensive for a depth defenceman, though, especially with more term on his contract. Although it wouldn't take much to acquire him, he doesn't serve the Senators need for a short-term fix without long-term obligations.
#4 / Defenseman / Florida Panthers
Jul 18, 1981
2009-10 cap hit: $2.25M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Dennis Seidenberg||61||2||20||22||-1||33||1||0||0||0||112||1.8|
Similar to Kubina, Seidenberg is an established NHLer who is capable of playing a lot of minutes--he averages almost 23:00 TOI per game. His cap hit is low, he's a pending UFA, and he can score you a point here and there. The Panthers have told their season ticket holders they're blowing up the team and starting fresh, so you can be sure Seidenberg will be available; Murray just has to decide whether the asking price is worth it.
#44 / Defenseman / Florida Panthers
Aug 03, 1980
2009-10 cap hit: $1.75M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Jordan Leopold||61||7||11||18||-7||22||1||0||1||0||69||10.1|
It should be relatively easy for Murray to fit Leopold's salary under the cap for the season, and he's another guy who regularly plays more than 22 minutes a game. He's not a big point producer, even though he gets a regular shift on the powerplay, but he'd certainly fit in well on the Senators' second pairing. Again, Florida's having a fire sale, so he'll be available--but who knows what the Panthers want in return.
#3 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild
Feb 03, 1977
2009-10 cap hit: $3.35M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Marek Zidlicky||59||4||30||34||-2||49||2||0||2||0||93||4.3|
Zidlicky is another defenceman who, if acquired, would be a huge coup for the Senators. He's 10th among defencemen in point scoring, plays 23+ minutes per game, and has a manageable salary to fit under the salary cap. Although the Wild aren't in the playoffs, they're not yet eliminated, so it remains to be seen if they're going to be ready to sell off a big-name defenceman--and reports are circulating that they may have opened contract negotiations in the hope of re-signing Zidlicky. If they are, Murray will be on the phone with his pitch.
#25 / Defenseman / New York Islanders
Mar 10, 1975
2009-10 cap hit: $3M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Andy Sutton||53||4||8||12||-3||73||0||0||0||0||58||6.9|
Sutton is a different acquisition than the other names on the list, as a 34-year-old veteran whose physical play and defensive game are more valuable than his offensive contributions. He's put up a few points this season, but most of his 20+ minutes per game are played with a distinctly defensive bent. One concern with Sutton, though: Despite 566 regular-season games played, he's only got four playoff games under his belt. He plays a style that fits with the playoffs, but you never know until you get there how it will work.
#44 / Defenseman / St. Louis Blues
May 13, 1972
2009-10 cap hit: $1M (pending UFA)
|2009 - Darryl Sydor||39||0||8||8||-2||15||0||0||0||0||21||0.0|
The oldest guy on the list, Sydor is obviously the most experienced, with 1283 regular season games played and 155 playoff games under his belt. If the Senators want to pick him up, it will be for the experience. In his day, Sydor could put up points, but that's slowed down a fair bit this season--as you can see by the eight points he has this year. He'd cost next to nothing to pick up, but I'm not sure if he serves Ottawa's needs effectively.
Who do you hope the Senators acquire at the trade deadline?
Read more on the Senators' shopping list elsewhere:
- Ottawa Citizen, "Senators are in the market for a rental"
- Another Ottawa Senators Blog, "Three and a Half Defencemen to Consider for Ottawa's Stretch Run"
- Black Aces, "Defenseman On The Way - Who's It Going To Be?"
- Sens Chirp, "Finding Help on the Blueline"
- Sens Chirp, "Two More Defencemen to the List"
- From the Rink, "Rumors From The Rink: Some Teams Singing The "Blueline Blues""
Who do you think the Senators will acquire to boost the blue line heading into the playoffs?
|Pavel Kubina (ATL)||22|
|Aaron Ward (CAR)||15|
|Brett Clark (COL)||0|
|Trevor Daley (DAL)||3|
|Dennis Seidenberg (FLA)||50|
|Jordan Leopold (FLA)||14|
|Marek Zidlicky (MIN)||35|
|Andy Sutton (NYI)||12|
|Darryl Sydor (STL)||4|
|Other (please specify in comments)||4|