Though the Ottawa Senators are struggling, one of the bright spots remains in goal where the tandem of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner continue to shine. If Ottawa wants to improve quickly, however, the team may have to consider moving one of their netminders.
After finishing October with a 5-2-2 record, the Ottawa Senators find themselves struggling to remain in playoff contention. They enter their Dec. 4 matchup against the New York Islanders with only five wins in their last 15 games. The Senators are among the NHL’s worst defensive teams and among the bottom third in scoring. However, of the Senators losses since Nov. 1, all but one was by one or two goals. They can thank their goalie tandem of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner for giving them a chance to win in those games.
That goaltending depth could make the Senators a target for clubs seeking an upgrade between the pipes. There’s already been some speculation suggesting the Edmonton Oilers could be a suitor, especially if they offered up right wing Jordan Eberle. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claims the Senators don’t intend to do anything regarding their goaltending, preferring to see how things play out over the course of the season. Friedman doesn’t rule out a move in the offseason. Anderson and Lehner are under long-term contracts, which could improve their trade value. If the Senators had stronger defensive numbers management might consider trading one of their goalies, perhaps in a package deal for a scoring forward. The only way such a deal works is if they get a decent backup as part of the return. Trading Anderson or Lehner means burning out whoever remains, casting the Senators’ playoff hopes into jeopardy. LECAVALIER’S FUTURE IN QUESTION The Philadelphia Flyers scratched forward Vincent Lecavalier from the lineup for their recent game against the San Jose Sharks. It was the first time he’s been a healthy scratch in his NHL career. Lecavalier’s struggles and those of the Flyers are providing fodder for the rumor mill. While Lecavalier was angered and upset by the move, he told the Philadelphia Daily News he’s not ready to seek a trade. Over the summer the Flyers tried to trade the 34-year-old center but his declining production and contract ($4.5 million per season and a full no-movement clause) made him impossible to move. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports there’s talk Lecavalier might retire at the end of next season, but that won’t address his current situation. Unless the Flyers can find someone willing to take on Lecavalier’s toxic contract, the two sides are stuck with each other for the rest of this season. A contract buyout is possible in June, though it would cost the Flyers over $2.88 million per season in the first two years, $2.38 million in the third year, before dropping to over $888,000 for the final three years of the buyout. FLAMES MAY SEEK VETERAN TALENT The surprising Calgary Flames continue to roll along, entering their Dec. 4 tilt against the Colorado Avalanche having won seven of their last ten games. While the Flames continue to confound the experts by riding high in the Western Conference standing, the Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak wonders if they’ll make any veteran additions. He feels there could be a need for depth at right wing, even with the sidelined Mason Raymond due to return soon. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance reports Flames GM Brad Treliving is always willing to improve his club but he’s not interested in short-term acquisitions. He also has no intention of parting with his young assets. Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.). For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.