Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray spoke to the media about his teams poor start to the season and during the discussion he mentioned he was talking with other general managers to see if there was anything he can do to improve his team via trade. In particular he was looking to add a rugged defensemen to his team. The question I have though is, does Bryan Murray have anyone on his team that he would be willing to trade that any other team would have an interest in? I am sure other teams would have an interest in Daniel Alfredsson, but Alfredsson isn’t going to be traded. So is there anyone that another team might be interested in that Murray would consider trading?
The difficulty for Ottawa, in my opinion, is they view themselves as a playoff team, and maybe even a long shot contending team for the Stanley Cup. So long as they view themselves as this they won’t go into a full rebuild mode that might see them trade core players like Chris Phillips, Alfredsson, Mike Fisher, Milan Michalek, etc. You might get some interest from other general managers in the Senators third liners Jarko Ruttu, Chris Neil and Chris Kelly but those three have been three of the better players for the Senators this season and I don’t think trading them would fill any holes bigger than the hole you created by trading them.
You might think the Senators would love to trade Alexei Kovalev but they would probably prefer he just decided to put in an honest work ethic each and every day because when he does he can be a decent enough player. Besides, you probably would only get an equally overpriced malcontent in return (Rangers would be willing to send Redden your way).
They wouldn’t consider trading Sergei Gonchar but he wouldn’t have much value if they tried. Ottawa was one of the few, if not only, team willing to give Gonchar a 3 year deal and he is still on that 3 year deal and while he hasn’t played poorly, he hasn’t been great either.
Many Senators fans talk about trading former first round pick Brian Lee and hoping to get something in return for him, but lets be honest, no one really wants Brian Lee. He hasn’t shown he can be a reliable NHL regular and yet he earns $875,000 this year and next on a one-way deal. Murray has had Lee on the trading block for a while now and there just isn’t much interest in him.
Matt Carkner is their sole rugged defenseman so he won’t be traded. Jesse Winchester is a serviceable fourth line player and could be used as a component in a larger trade but really doesn’t add much value on his own.
Chris Campoli is nothing special but does have some offensive skill as a #5/6 defenseman. Maybe you could trade him for a more physical physical #5/6 defenseman but that isn’t really a trade that would shake up the team any. You’d just be shuffling bit parts.
Two players that would have some value are Nick Foligno and Peter Regin. Neither have shown that they can be top line players but they both have second line upside and at the very least could be solid performing third line players. They won’t net the Senators a top pairing defenseman but they might land them a similarly underachieving young physical defenseman. But the problem is, the Senators are severely lacking in depth up front. If they traded Foligno or Regin they don’t really have anyone ready to step into the spots they filled (maybe Bobby Butler will be ready in the not too distant future but who really knows). Maybe someone could be found cheaply or on the daily waiver wire but it would have to be addressed if one of them were to be traded.
The Senators are actually deep on defense prospects with Jared Cowen, Patrick Wiercioch and others in the system a year or two away. Would the Senators be willing to trade a defense prospect for help now? Alternatively, would they be willing to trade young offensive defenseman Erik Karlsson for a more reliable and physical defenseman now? I suspect not but if they get desperate, you never know.
That leaves us with Jason Spezza. Jason Spezza you say? Yes, Jason Spezza. It was reported this past summer that Spezza was at least a little bit unhappy about playing in Ottawa and that he would be willing to waive his no trade clause if Bryan Murray felt he could improve his team. It is pretty difficult to trade a $7M a season player early in the season but if he was put up on the trading block there would probably be some interest even though he generally hasn’t played up to his salary. Two teams that would almost certainly be interested are the Rangers and the Leafs. Would the Rangers do a deal of Rozsival and Dubinsky for Spezza and Campoli? Would the Leafs do Bozak and Komisarek for Spezza? Bryan Murray said he spoke to Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher. Would a trade built around Jason Spezza for Brent Burns or Nick Shultz work? If Bryan Murray gets to the point he really feels he needs to shake up his roster, Jason Spezza might be his only viable trading card as trading Campoli, Lee, Regin or Foligno isn’t going to shake up much of anything.