With the NHL’s 2013 trade deadline only two sleeps away, things are really starting to pick up. New names are finding their way to the market, deals are reportedly happening as you read this and believe it or not we’re still all talking about Roberto Luongo. If you ask me this whole Christmas thing is totally overrated. Just try telling me that if your team is a contender this isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. Yeah, I’m talking to you especially Pittsburgh Penguins fans...
For every new name on the market, there is a new team working it’s way either in or out of the buyer and seller distinction. It’s like the old saying goes “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...to playoff contention” or something like that. There are so many moving parts at work here, and it becomes all the more difficult to keep track of them in a shortened 48-game season that’s moving a mile a minute. Doesn’t mean I can’t try though - and don’t think I won’t enjoy every minute of it. You can get in on the action too, with my series of deadline previews.
This deadline preview will take a look at the logic defying Ottawa Senators. How this team is still in the playoffs, let alone sitting comfortably in the 5th seed with injuries to all their best players is beyond me. In case you haven’t heard those injuries are to players like Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson. To name a few.
These injuries, and the team remaining in playoff contention should have the Sens and their fan base buzzing for the deadline. I don’t think they’re going to be buyers in the “purest” sense of the term, but I think they’ll definitely be looking to add some pieces. They also have a few great assets to get those pieces. This will probably lead to them making some quality hockey trades. Some of which I will try to forecast with my player preview below.
Ben Bishop: Bishop has done a fantastic job filling in for the injured Craig Anderson, and has probably earned his right to start. Unfortunately for Bishop, that chance probably won’t come with the Senators. Bishop is also set to become an RFA in the offseason. If they can ship Bishop out of town to address other roster needs, I think they just might do it. They also have Robin Lehner in their system, and he’s definitely NHL ready.
Sergei Gonchar: I doubt the Sens will trade Gonchar, especially with all their injuries on the blueline. That being said, Jared Cowen could be available for the playoffs. It’s doubtful, but not of the realm of possibility. This would make Gonchar, who is a UFA at the end of the season, expendable.
Mason Raymond: If Raymond is available, he would be a great fit in Ottawa. Raymond can play comfortably in a top 6 role, and is great in his own end. A reliable penalty killer as well, who is young enough to fit right in with the Senators.
Steve Sullivan: Could fit in well with the Senators top 6 and provide a leadership role to the younger skaters. Is a UFA at the end of the season, with not an awful lot left in the tank, but could be a good rental.
Ryan Whitney: Almost as soon as Whitney fell out of favor with Ralph Krueger he was linked to the Ottawa Senators. For good reason too. He could benefit greatly from a change of scenery and would provide a little offense from the blueline. Something they still need after losing Karlsson for the season.
You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at We've Got Twins