Sens talk trade
UFA wingers on wish list
Matt Moulson, anyone? Ales Hemsky, perhaps?
After team scouting meetings in Florida last week, those two wingers are on a master list of possible trade acquisitions for the Ottawa Senators.
Senators management met with the club’s pro and amateur scouts to get a clear idea of where the team stands — both now and in the future — and how it can improve.
“We identified what we feel our team is right now,” said new assistant general manager Pierre Dorion, whose duties increased after former AGM Tim Murray left to become general manager of the Buffalo Sabres earlier this month. “We identified possible targets for possible trades. You always have to be ready for that possibility, for players that could help us in the short or long term.”
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has said publicly that general manager Bryan Murray has a “green light” to pursue any and all options, suggesting it may be beneficial to acquire a player before the Olympic break so the player has time to adjust to the surroundings in Ottawa before play resumes after Sochi. While Melnyk has a strict internal budget, he says the club is interested in pending unrestricted free agents — players who may not return for the 2014-15 season, but who could make a difference in the run towards a playoff spot.
It’s no secret the Senators are looking for a scoring winger to play with centre Jason Spezza. Matt Moulson of the Buffalo Sabres and Ales Hemsky of the Edmonton Oilers are believed to be among the possibilities. The trade bait could include a defenceman. With eight currently in Ottawa, it’s a nightly headache for coach Paul MacLean in trying to decide which two must sit.
The trade deadline is March 5, but Dorion says it’s possible the Senators could make a move at any moment.
“It could be good in some ways, but we have to wait to see where we are at the Olympic break and where we are at the trade deadline,” he said. “We like the way we’re going, we’re taking the right direction as a team and the way we’ve been playing in the last month shows we can make the playoffs.”
Yet given the tight nature of the Eastern Conference standings, the Senators can’t let opportunities slip away. Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes took plenty of steam out of a run which had seen the Senators go 7-1-3 in their previous 11 games.
In addition to assessing trade possibilities, the meetings also included extensive discussion about the state of every prospect within the organization, including Canadian juniors, former European draft picks and the talent currently playing with Binghamton in the American Hockey League.
The fact that the relatively young Binghamton squad is having another strong year under coach Luke Richardson is a promising sign, Dorion says.
The Senators are also optimistic about a pipeline which includes Edmonton junior Curtis Lazar, Swedish defenceman Mikael Wikstrand, Max McCormick and Ryan Dzingel of Ohio State, along with 19-year-old goaltending prospects Francois Brassard, Chris Driedger and Marcus Hogberg.
At this point, the Senators don’t own a first-round draft pick next summer — that choice was dealt to Anaheim in the Bobby Ryan trade last summer — but Dorion says management and the scouting staff is prepared, just in case a trade is available to re-acquire a top pick.
“You never know what can happen at trade deadline,” said Dorion.
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