It’s the elephant in the room. The Ottawa Senators need another top-six forward, at least according to GM Bryan Murray who has openly said this to the media. That’s a nice tidy phrase, top-six forward, but in reality, what kind of players can be considered to be available and on top of that, what kind of player can you get when you obviously don’t want to part with any of your own top-six forwards?
Here are some likely candidates from around the league, taking into consideration salary, availability, contract status and common sense. For instance, the Senators aren’t going to pry away Martin St. Louis from Tampa Bay for many reasons, but they might be able to get a Marian Hossa. Two elite players. Two vastly different situations.
Let’s have a look.
Marian Hossa – This deal seems highly unlikely but it’s possible because Hossa is an unrestricted free agent and the Thrashers are probably a bubble playoff team with the chance of sinking out of contention. The cost would be astronomical because Hossa will be sought after highly by any number of contenders including the St. Louis Blues, New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks. Even Edmonton is a possibility with Jarret Stoll as bait. But he would be a nice fit with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. Actually those three talents together would bring the apocalypse upon the rest of the league.
Mike Comrie – Seriously. If the Islanders continue to tank (and I don’t think they will) Comrie all of a sudden becomes a rental player because of his one year contract. Comrie won over a lot of people with his surprisingly scrappy play and we all know he has the skill to be a number 2 centre. Is it possible? He could be had for considerably cheaper than most other top forwards.
Ruslan Fedotenko – The Islander may be having a slow year but he has shown in the past that he can score big goals in the playoffs as he helped the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004. Also an unrestricted free agent.
J.P. Dumont – Another player having an off year who has shown he can score in the past. If the Predators fall on hard times, Dumont will be signed or shipped off somewhere.
Jarret Stoll – There’s no way this guy should be struggling but he is. There is too much potential to be tapped here and his contract is up at the end of this season.
Geoff Sanderson – Having a woeful year but still has speed. Probably not a top-six forward but his goal scoring skills are tempting. He could thrive with the right linemates.
Patrick Marleau - Just go down two posts to see why I think he'll be available and a good fit in Ottawa.
Andrew Brunette – Scored 83 points last year. Unrestricted next season. Only available if Colorado plummets.
Sergei Fedorov – If a sure-fire Hall Of Famer becomes available, it would be prudent to kick the tires. Fedorov has gotten a bad rap lately but he can still skate like the wind and is great at all facets of the game. Fedorov would be a major boost to the Senators powerplay, either as point man on the first unit or a centreman on the second. His salary is huge but manageable come February. Unrestricted next year. Columbus would let him go for a solid prospect because they know they’re not in a position to win a Cup this season despite their improved play under Ken Hitchcock.
I have to say, out of all these players, the three best short-term players for the Senators would be, obviously, Marian Hossa and Patrick Marleau and, surprisingly, Sergei Fedorov.
If Peter Forsberg miraculously recovers and wants to play in Ottawa, then all bets are off.
Feel free to suggest any other players I might have missed.