(This is the first post in a look at who the Senators might potentially trade in the coming days, and what a realistic expected return for them might be.)
(Photo via binghamtonsenators.com.ismmedia.com)
#5 / Defenseman / Ottawa Senators
Mar 26, 1987
In the first year of a two-year, $1.75M contract ($875,000 per year) signed March 8th, 2010. Will be a Restricted Free Agent as of the 2012-13 season.
Lee's positives in the eyes of another team are limited to his age and his contract size. He looked very poised while playing against Pittsburgh in the 2007-08 playoffs -- his first experience in the NHL postseason -- though he had just one point and Ottawa was swept in that series. He has showed similar poise in limited action this year. Although it has not been reached, Lee's potential might be attractive to other teams (he was selected to the 2005 USA WJC team as a high school player ahead of Jack Johnson, who is now playing for the Los Angles Kings). Though he has not lived up to that potential since, Lee's youth means he is by no means a lost cause, and his cap hit is in line with a third pairing defenseman.
As stated above, Lee has not lived up to his potential. Then-GM John Muckler expressed a belief that Lee would be ready to play in the NHL in two years, but that was not the case. He also failed to build upon a strong showing in the 2007-08 playoffs, and was unable to secure a roster spot with the Senators in 2008-09. The same thing was true the next season, as he was beaten out for a spot by AHL journeyman Matt Carkner and rookie Erik Karlsson. Lee does not seem to have a good sense of what kind of game he's going to play in the NHL: he has the size to be physical, but rarely is, and has yet to show the same offensive instincts that got him drafted so highly by the team. His generic skill set doesn't distinguish him from any other unremarkable defenseman in any other NHL team's own farm system.
Nil. Lee was placed on waivers earlier this season and was not claimed. There remains an extremely small chance that Lee could be included as part of some other trade, but the value he would add to any trade is so small that he wouldn't be considered more than a warm body.
Nil. See above. It seems extremely unlikely that another team would be willing to give up a draft pick or prospect for a player they had passed on before.
At this point in his career, Brian Lee cannot get the Senators even a low draft pick or prospect in return.