OTTAWA – With his team holding a playoff spot and key players ready to return from injury, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray doesn’t anticipate being very busy at the trade deadline.
That’s not to say Murray won’t look into making a move, but it’s unlikely he will make any significant changes to his team’s roster.
“I know we’re not doing much of anything,” Murray said. “I keep watching the team and I’m fairly happy with our young people the way they’ve played, in the middle in particular. If something comes up that’s of interest we’ll certainly explore it, but at the moment I don’t think we’re going to be driven by the fact that one player is out or not or not able to play.”
The Senators are currently without forwards Jason Spezza (back) and Milan Michalek (knee), defenceman Jared Cowen (hip) and Erik Karlsson (Achilles) and goalie Craig Anderson (ankle).
The team is hopeful Michalek and Anderson will return at some point on their upcoming seven-game, 15-day road trip. Cowen is hoping to make it back into the lineup before the end of the regular season. Spezza could return during the playoffs and Karlsson is a long shot at best.
Murray says he has no desire to trade away young prospects for a short-term gain despite the team’s current success.
A more likely scenario would see centre Peter Regin or defenceman Mike Lundin potentially moved. Both are set to become unrestricted free agents come July and both often find themselves on the outside looking in.
“We have a lot of young guys to come still,” Murray said. “We’re not going to do anything, we hope, that’s going to affect that and we think the performance will be better when we get all of our own guys back and playing.
“We’ll do, we hope what’s right and if that means doing nothing then we’ll decide that’s the right way to go and if we can add a person to the lineup whether it be a (defenceman) or a forward we would do that.”
With three goaltenders on its current roster the Senators could look into trading Ben Bishop, but considering Anderson has yet to play a game since suffering a high ankle sprain just over a month ago that scenario seems unlikely at this point.
When asked if he felt any pressure to move Bishop, Murray said “absolutely not.” Once Anderson is ready to return it appears Robin Lehner would be sent back to the AHL as he is on a two-way contract.
“I think we’ve got a great scenario,” Murray said. “We’ve got two young guys and a more veteran guy that has played great for us. We’ll do what we have to do at the time.
“If there’s something that we can do that would add to our hockey team we certainly will consider that, but it’s not a handicap having three top-calibre guys.”
Bishop says he doesn’t spend much time worrying about trade rumours.
“I just have to wait and see what happens,” Bishop said. “It’s something you think about a little bit in case so you know where you might be. I’m not nervous. I’ve been through it before. It’s just one of those things if it happens, it happens.”
Players say they will be happy once the distraction of the trade deadline passes.
“With the amount of hype and rumours, it is tough on guys,” said defenceman Chris Phillips. “Just to throw guys’ names out there and they’re sitting there, not knowing they were on the block–and they might not be–that makes it tough for a couple of days, a couple of weeks, whatever.”
The Senators are enjoying great team chemistry this season and they would like to keep the current group together heading into the playoffs.
“Everybody knows it’s part of the game and it could happen, but the feeling in this room is no one wants to get moved,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “As far as if something could happen, we don’t know, but we try not to worry too much.”
The Senators play the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night and will remain in Boston for the trade deadline.