What’s In A Name?
Re-build, Re-Tool, Re-Energize.
Pick one, it doesn’t matter what you call it, all that matters is what it nets.
As it stands the trading of Kelly, Fisher, Kovalev and Rundblad has resulted in the addition of just Turris. Not exactly the Philadelphia model, where you move NHL assets for other NHL assets, leading to a new team, and improved results. Well, except for the results part.
I have little doubt this team is surprising even the GM, despite his assertions that he expected a decent season. And this has no doubt led to a re-thinking of the plan, no matter what you call it.
All indications are the Senators remain committed to building through young assets and the draft, not trades for veteran players or the signing of ageing UFA’s, and that is laudable, but when a competitive group gets a free shot, you know they’re going to take it.
And that’s what this season has turned into, a free shot a t the post-season, and as the thinking goes, once you make the post season, anything can happen. The Lightning had a free shot last season, and darn near made it to the finals…no doubt this is close to the top of mind for both Murray and Melnyk, competitive guys.
But is it possible to remain committed to building through prospects and the draft, while still enhancing a surprisingly competitive team?
Yes, but it is a task that will require extreme focus, and at times, a difficult commitment to the original plan, even when other seemingly opportunistic trades present themselves.
A good example is the Turris trade. The Senators were able to satisfy a need for the present (2nd line centre), but not jeopardize the future of the club, due to Kyle’s age and contract status (RFA in 2013/14) without overly impacting the future (although I still lament the 2nd rounder…).
If Murray and Melnyk are going to try to walk this tight rope between the now and the future, it will require trades for younger assets, that fit specific franchise needs, now and in the future, without sacrificing all of the teams picks and secondary/positional depth prospects.
Call it what you like, but for sure it will be difficult to pull off…withiut succumbing to the temptation to mortgage the future.
Like the Senators, consider this trade deadline a mid-term exam for management…have they learned their lessons?