The Senators are well out of contention in the Eastern Conference and that has made several players available. Chris Neil, Marc Methot and Chris Phillips are veterans that could be acquired from Ottawa. Meanwhile, the Bruins search for a top-line winger has them looking at Columbus’ Cam Atkinson.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Senators’ players don’t like to admit their club could be sellers. With 12 points between the Senators and a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference entering Thursday‘s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, there’s little chance they can gain ground in the standings.
Garrioch anticipates the Senators will make some moves, though it remains to be seen how many. He notes there’s interest in gritty winger Chris Neil but wonders how badly GM Bryan Murray wants to move him. Struggling center David Legwand could be available but he has another season at $3 million remaining on his contract. If impending UFA defenseman Marc Methot isn’t re-signed before the deadline, Garrioch expects he could be dealt for a second-round pick.
It’s believed Methot is seeking a five-year deal between $4.75-5-million annually. Garrioch claims the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks could be suitors if Methot hits the trade block. Of these, the Kings could be the most likely destination. With Slava Voynov suspended indefinitely awaiting trial on a domestic violence charge and Alec Martinez sidelined by concussion-like symptoms, they need affordable blueline help.
Legwand’s seen his playing time reduced since Dave Cameron took over in December. While his contract could turn off some teams, there could be others seeking a veteran center with reasonable term remaining on his contract. The Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks could use additional top-nine depth.
ESPN.com’s Pierre Lebrun reports the Nashville Predators were reportedly interested in Neil. Prior to the Winnipeg Jets blockbuster deal with the Buffalo Sabres, Garrioch claimed the Jets also had interest in Neil but they’re on his 15-team no-trade list.
Other potentially available Senators include blueliner Chris Phillips and forwards Erik Condra and Colin Greening. Like Neil, Phillips also has a limited no-trade clause and wishes to remain in Ottawa. The Sens tried shopping Greening earlier this season but demoted him when they found no takers.
BLUE JACKETS AND BRUINS TALKING ATKINSON?
The Columbus Blue Jackets hopes for a second-straight playoff appearance were dashed as injuries decimated their lineup this season. As of Feb. 11, the Jackets were 14 points out of playoff contention with 30 games remaining in their schedule. With the NHL trade deadline over two week away, the Jackets could test the trade value of several pending free agents.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports the Jackets want to move pending UFA defenseman Jordan Leopold, who was acquired earlier this season as injuries took its toll on their blueline. Garrioch also suggests winger Cam Atkinson could be shopped. Although he’s a restricted free agent, Atkinson has arbitration rights. The Jackets could consider trading him, rather than risk a possibly difficult arbitration hearing.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Boston Bruins have interest in Atkinson. The Bruins are in the market for a scoring right wing. While linked for months with Chris Stewart of the Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins could be considering other options if the Sabres are unwilling to lower their asking price.
Other pending Blue Jackets free agents include forward Mark Letestu and backup Curtis McElhinney. Winger Matt Calvert is a restricted free agent. Letestu could be on the move if the two sides fail to work out a deal. A versatile two-way forward with a $1.25-million cap hit, Letestu might interest the New York Rangers, who reportedly seek depth on their checking lines. The Rangers and Blue Jackets have a trade history so perhaps there’s a fit there.