A Break Only A GM Could Love.
With the Sens sitting idle until Thursday, when they’ll host the NSH Predators, the Sens will be hitting the practice ice, and only the practice ice, for 4 days.
That’s a pretty long break, the sort of early season break most GM’s dread.
But not Murray.
Why you may ask? It’s simple, this team will need some retooling, and this hiatus will buy Murray some time to make it happen.
With the imminent return of Regin, Winchester & Kuba, Murray has too many horses, and too few stalls. Someones gotta go, one way or another.
In the defensive ranks, with the return of Kuba, and the solid play of both Volchy and Phillips, three of the 6 spots are accounted for. Unfortunately, with Big Easy, Campoli, Picard, Karlsson all playing well, Murray will be forced to sit someone who doesn’t deserve to be sat.
Carks and Karlsson represent the 2 easiest to deal with, as both can be returned to Bingo without the threat of losing them to the waiver wires.
Personally, I’d hate to see Big Easy get demoted, as going to the A would be exactly that for Carkner, a demotion. He won’t improve playing in Bingo,in fact, he’ll likely regress. Don’t get me wrong, if had to choose to keep one or the other, long term, it would be a gimme, Karlsson. Even Carks would understand that reality. But that’s not the situation being faced by Murray. The reality is, Karlsson would not be lost, or his development stunted, should he be moved to Bingo in the short-term. I maintain that is the right choice, but politics, and player options may indicate otherwise.
Would Karlsson go to Bingo? He’s indicated publically he’d be willing to consider it, but that’s a long way from saying he’d embrace the move. The reality is Karlsson, should he moved out of the NHL, may instead want to return to the SEL, and although that would not be terrible, it would result in the Sens losing access to Karlsson, and delay his development in playing on the small ice of NA.
Another alternative is to sit out a defenseman. This is not a terrible option, but it has some serious problems. One, it costs the team salary space, for little or no return, which may be desired later in the season to cover off injuries, or acquire a new player. It also does nothing for the player being sat. Worse case would be a player like Karlsson, who will gain little or nothing by simply watching pro hockey, vs. playing it. Even Campoli, Picard and Carkner will only stagnate if forced to sit for any period.
Trading a defenseman might look good in the short term, but should injuries crop up (and they will), having solid defensive depth is an asset, not a liability, if handled properly. This is a nother reason I believe allowing Karlsson to develop in the A, in the short term, is a good option to explore.
Another problem with sitting a defenseman, vs trading or moving them to the A, is the fact that only 23 players can be held on the NHL roster, at any one time.
Once all the injured players come off of IR, they’ll be at that max.
This means both a defenseman, and a forward will be forced to sit each game. Again, what’s in it for either the players, or the franchise, to do that?
It was all well and good early in the season, where translating pre-season performance, into regular season performance can be variable, so continuing the “evaluation” has merit, bt as a long term strategy, it sucks.
Who’s to sit? A rotation? Why?
Why not just move a salary or 2 to the A, or make a trade?
If the Sens were to move a couple of players, they could possibly land an asset they could ice every night. Like a top Dman.
It’s ironic that NSH is the next team being faced by the Sens, because they represent one of the best teams for Murray to target for a trade.
They’re desperate for an offensive forward, and are deep in defenseman.
Shannon, Kelly, Lee, Zubov, SJ 2nd. (2.725M – Out)
Ryan Sutter. (3.5M – In)
After this trade, Karlsson goes to Bingo, Regin takes over from Kelly on the 3rd line, and Sutter takes over Karlssons role on the PP. Winnie takes over a checking role, more suited to the 4th line.
Cheech – Spez – Mich
Kovy – Fisher – Alfie
Ruutu – Regin – Foligno
Donovan – Winnie – Neil
Suter – Kuba
Carkner – Pickard/Campoli
That would be a pretty fairy tale trade for OTT, so I wouldn’t expect it to happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a move this week, should a trade be brewing.