Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Best Bets and Homerun Chances For Sens On Deadline Day
The trade deadline approaches. You know Ottawa is going to do something, even if it’s just a 7th defenseman going back and forth. Here’s a few guesses (and one or two Hail Mary's) at who might land in town:
Ryan O’Byrne (D) – Colorado: Bryan Murray must have had a huge scare when both Marc Methot and Sergei Gonchar got temporarily banged up. This team is a near-lock for the post-season and Murray can’t rely on Erik Karlsson or Jared Cowen magically getting healthier for April. He has to make a move for a rental just to have some bodies for when the games get really painful. He won’t lock himself into a defenseman with multiple years unless he’s young. Big and somewhat mobile O’Byrne (6’5”, 234 pounds) is a UFA this summer and has 19 games of NHL playoff experience with Montreal, and was part of the Hamilton Bulldogs AHL championship team in 2007 where he played 22 games during their Calder run. He’s had a tough year in Colorado, even being made a healthy scratch recently, but he’s a perfect fit for Ottawa. He still plays about 20 minutes a game for the drowning Avs.
Jordan Leopold (D) – Buffalo: It’s pretty easy to just stroll down a list of UFA’s this summer and pick obvious candidates for Ottawa, but Leopold would provide a smooth skating d-man in one of their pairings, probably replacing the need to play both Mike Lundin or Andre Benoit. Leopold has 59 playoff games on his resume. He’d help Ottawa and would be a nice fit on the second power-play unit. Too bad he’s a left shot though. Buffalo won’t be eager to give Ottawa anything helpful.
Robyn Regehr (D) – Buffalo: More of a longshot because, like Leopold, Buffalo will want something decent in return and won’t take less from Ottawa, a divisional rival. He’s the kind of established player you’d want in a playoff run but I don’t see Ottawa swinging hard for him. He’s got a no-trade but you’d think he’d jump at an opportunity to play a few extra weeks somewhere. Complications aside, he’d look at home in a Sens uniform as a rental.
David Rundblad (D) – Phoenix: Don’t laugh. It could happen. My pal came out with this the other day and the idea stunned me for a moment. The Coyotes don’t have a goalie for next season with Mike Smith a pending UFA. Ottawa has 3 good/great ones in stock. I don’t have to tell you the talent Rundblad has. This would be a mind-blower but it almost makes a bit of sense because the Coyotes already have both Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle locked up long term. That being said, I have my doubts Ottawa will move a goalie before July.
Ales Hemsky (RW) – Edmonton: This would be Bryan Murray’s homerun shot provided he doesn’t steal someone like Martin St. Louis from good buddy Steve Yzerman. Hemsky has one year left at a modest $5 million and would be that guy who replaces Guillaume Latendresse in the top 6. It’s a big longshot but Edmonton would be chasing a goalie if they were sane. A healthy line of Spezza, Michalek and Hemsky is a tempting thought. You could say the emergence of Jakob Silfverberg shores up that right wing spot nicely but how many years does Alfie have left? Hemsky would be a needed injection of pure skill into your top line. And you just might be able to get him for less than you think.
Jaromir Jagr (RW) – Dallas: Could you imagine Jagr in the red and black? I can’t, but Murray brought in Alex Kovalev so there’s a precedent here. One of the best hockey players of all-time as a deadline rental? You could do worse.