The Senators have to like where this is going. The Leafs get a first and a third rounder for Kris Versteeg?
Wow. Great deal for the Leafs and the Flyers get a 24 year old forward who will help them for a while down the road. Good for both sides.
Now, Ottawa doesn't have a 24 year old forward with the pedigree of Versteeg to trade (and if they did, why would they want to trade him?), but it further sets the precedent of having to give away good draft picks for help at the deadline. If Versteeg is worth a first and a third, then Alexei Kovalev could be worth a 3rd rounder. Possibly more with the way he's been playing lately. Chris Phillips could fetch as high as a late first or second rounder if a serious bidding war develops for his services.
These early deals before the deadline not only break the ice, but they put further pressure on teams who haven't jumped in the pool yet and it gives them a blueprint for what it's going to take to ply away rentals.
I'm guessing Ottawa GM Bryan Murray is hearing his phone ring a lot more often this week than last......
......Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on franchise defenseman Chris Phillips. If you thought it was a big loss for the team and the community when Mike Fisher was sent to Nashville, how painful will it be to see Phillips (who is just as involved in charitable events around town) leave the team when he's currently just 81 games shy of becoming the second Senator to play 1000 in the red and black sweater?
It just doesn't seem right that the Sens probable lone veteran defenseman next year will be one of Sergei Gonchar or Filip Kuba, and not Phillips. Ugh. It's entirely possible that this defense core will be worse next season, even though it's hard to believe. Just because fans are excited about all the possible rookie blueliners coming next year, doesn't mean they are going to step in right away and play well. In fact, probably one or two will prove they don't even belong at the NHL level yet. If they do make it, they're going to need veteran guidance, as well as a minute muncher to take the pressure off of their games. If Kuba or the struggling Gonchar are the ones to play over twenty minutes a game next season, it could get ugly. Phillips should be the guy, and he should also be a Senator for life just like Alfie.
As for games played milestones, the next closest guy to Phillips (919 games) still on the team is Chris Neil (635) followed by Jason Spezza (500). Fisher finished with 675 games, just 14 shy of Radek Bonk's 689 tilts.
Creeping up on Bonk's totals seem to be a bad omen. Marian Hossa was shipped to Atlanta with 390 career Sens points, just 9 behind Bonk......
....Zenon Konopka, for all the chaos that usually surrounds him on the ice, is a big time leader off of it for the hapless New York Islanders. In fact, he's probably the best leader on that team since the days of Mike Peca (with apologies to the classy Doug Weight and the respected Bill Guerin). Not afraid to speak his mind (as Mario Lemieux can attest), and completely fearless on the ice, ex-Ottawa 67 Konopka is an unrestricted free agent this summer currently making 600 grand. He'd be a perfect replacement for Jarkko Ruutu next season and would quickly become a fan favourite.
You have to wonder how closely he'll be watched tonight by Sens management.