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

Phillips- Volchy

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.



11 Responses to “A Break Only A GM Could Love.”

  1. […] SenSay:  A break only a GM could love.  Looks like the Senators are going to have lots to do while they wait to play their next game on Thursday.  Why in a condensed season are there 5 days off between games? […]

  2. Campoli has sucked.

    Trade or sit him.

  3. Here they are:

    Campoli sits but only for 2 games.

    Winni is on the wire and down to Bingo.

    Cheechoo comes out for a game to see the difference it makes.

    Jason gets Shannon till he gets hurt again.

    Regin turns the 3rd line into a second line.

    The fourth line intact plays like a 3rd line.

    Kuba gets to look after Hugo’s “Erik” and they both play big minutes.

    Carkner and Picard revert back to 3rd pair minutes where they excel.

    And I’d start Elliott against Boston just to give Leclaire a rest.

    We are one D-man from a run at Stanley!

  4. Master Of Puppets Says:

    That D man to me is Shea Weber. He’s my ‘Jesus’ on D after Chara, Lidstrom, that fellow that went to Calgary, and Mike Green.

    Worth a Kuba and Lee or a forward? Maybe, but NSH brass aren’t that dumb.

  5. I like Kelly, the sort of guy that helps give the Sens the depth everyone has been raving about (btw, when you wrote “Winnie” it took me a second to figure out who you were talking about). I’m not as eager as you are to ship players out, especially when injuries can happen at any time. And since we really don’t know if Regin will pan or flame out.

  6. Lee Zamparo Says:

    Yeah, I think the Sens can do with just sitting a forward and a defenseman. Injuries will unfortunately occur, as you have mentioned and this will require people ready (and anxious) to step in and play.

    Beyond injuries, the advantages to having capable personnel on hand to step in is competition for roster spots will keep people sharp. And occasionally resting people should keep the team healthier as the season wears on. I’d love to see the Sens land a top defenseman, but don’t think it’s going to happen. Why? Cap management. Who’s up for new contracts next year? Lots of people (Volchenkov is unrestricted, a slew of folks are restricted). Also, we expect Cowen to make the team next year. What’s going to happen then?

  7. Your trade proposal has so many things wrong with it…I would have expected that from some “new to the NHL” observer. Kelly has done very well this year, he’s not going anywhere. Shannon is a Clouston favourite and has done well, he’s not going anywhere. Zubov is already halfway to Russia, no other NHL team has interest. Lee still has a future in Ottawa, they’re just waiting for the inevitable injuries or someone to play themselves out of a job, like Campoli. And give up the pick they got from SJ in the WhinyPants deal….are you nuts?
    Yes, the Sens have a need for a top 4 D-Man. They’re doing just fine with Carkner filling in at at the moment, and Kuba is back next game. Also, Picard has shown that he can do so much when paired with a defensive muscle-man (with 8 years pro experience) like Carkner that he’s been leading the team in ice-time while Kuba is out. Picard has been playing even-strength, power-play and even penalty kill…and impressing Clouston and Murray along the way. You can’t complain when a guy takes a little opportunity and steps up!
    I think different guys will take turns in the press-box for a little while…seeing who gets hurt or who plays poorly. BM will wait until 2010 to deal, to minimize the cap hit. He’ll also have a better idea where the team is and so will the other GMs, which means some players might be available then, after the teams realize their hopes are dead for this year.

    Go Sens Go!

  8. First and foremost, if Kelly weren’t playing well, he wouldn’t be tradable, so indicating that trading him, because he’s playing well, is a bad idea, is a non sequitor. You can’s trade nothing for something in today’s NHL. The real question is, what would be better for this team, Kelly, Shannon and Lee or Regin, Winnie and Suter?
    It seems obvious to me, but you have every right to your opinion.
    I also am not eager to ship anyone out, rather, I’m eager to have the best possible team. The rules of the NHL, around salary cap, and roster restrictions, make shipping someone out a necessity, if one is to improve the roster.
    You may feel this team is perfect as is…so be it, that’s perfectly fine, but to reduce my entire view to that of an uninformed observer, because you like the team as is, is hardly a erudite counter argument.
    But I digress.
    Ultimately, if this team is going to improve, it will have to do so first at defense. Carkner has been very good, but to suddenly expect him to compete in a top 4 position, will only succeed in putting him, and this team, behind the 8 ball more often than not. I like Carks, and love his game, let’s not ruin him, and it, by expecting him to be what he isn’t. The same goes for Pickard (who, BTW, is not “leading the team” in ice time). I would no more ask Carks or Picard to play top 4 minutes, than I would ask Ruutu to play top 6 minutes. The fact they are doing well in their respective roles is proof they’re well positioned, not that they’re in need of a promotion.
    I also have little faith in the “keep ’em hungry” theory in sitting out players. If a player is sitting out, and he knows the team has more players than positions, he also knows he’s a dumb mistake, or even an honest mistake, away from being sat out again. That’s not healthy competition, that’s a caustic environment, in the long term. It’s all well and good for the beginning of the season, but not as a status quo situation.
    I’d sooner use the depth this team does have (O’Brien, Smith, Bass & Lee) work hard to replace players on a call up basis, than have a salary sitting in the press box hoping for an injury, or a bad play, to get back into the game. Don’t think those guys in the A don’t get dejected being so far away from a call up because the team is carrying too many players..
    Ultimately, a player like Suter, who represents a bona-fide top 4 talent, with upside, will cost more than I’ve offered, so that specifically is a moot point.

  9. Hey GN…We agree on a lot of things (hence why I read and love the blog!), but I think you kinda supported my view by pointing out the “mootness” of trying to steal Ryan Suter. He’s a great young D-Man that would definitely look good in a Sens jersey, in the top 4. I just can’t see NSH trading him, especially for a collection of “bottom of the roster” players. Shannon might sneak in as a top-6 forward in some situations and Lee is far from having proven he can crack an NHL top 4. Really, though, your collection of Sens are 3rd and 4th liners and 5-6 D-Men. Zubov is just a giant question mark, I don’t think anyone in the NHL is interested in risking anything for him. Phoenix doesn’t owe Murray any more favours with disgruntled Russians…
    I like Ruan Suter, but like you said, I think he’ll be a Pred for a long time.
    The main points of my post were:
    – Trading “collections” of players is very hard in the cap era…most deals are one or two guys coming or going, with drafts picks sprinkled here and there. It’s rare for a team to need a “bunch” of guys…they usually just need one or two.
    – About Kelly: Players that aren’t playing well get traded all the time. BM traded Vermette during a bad year for him, but CBJ knew what they were really getting. (And BM stole the best goalie in Sens history!) There’s a long tradition of guys getting traded while they’re playing poorly because another GM thinks his team can bring him around. Occasionally it works, too… Kelly IS playing well and has so many useful roles on the team. Murray really likes him and he fits very well with Clouston’s system. The Sens fourth line is probably the best in the league this year. A little pricey, but you can’t argue with success! With PK time and end of game “lead protection”, Kelly has been getting good minutes. (As an aside, I don’t know why you mentioned Kelly being on the third line, where he hasn’t played this year.)
    – Shannon has been having some ups and downs, but Clouston loves his attitude. I can’t see him going anywhere soon. And like I had said, I don’t think they’re giving up on Lee just yet.
    – The main point was the timing, though. I just really get the feeling (I have ZERO inside access, just a blog reader) that BM is in no hurry to jump the trade gun. Closer to the trade deadline makes so much more sense. Carrying 23 isn’t the end of the world, but probably will be 22. You just know injuries, etc are coming soon. Some players might sit for a game or two here and there…they can spread it around. Poor Donovan will get the Rodney Dangerfield treatment (no respect) again, I’m sure. There are so many games left to play. BM knows some guys won’t stay consistent with their great play…and knows some teams will want to dump someone who’s heading to UFA status or has just worn out his welcome.

    Now…about that “Picard (no K) Ice-Time” comment. Just check it out.
    For the last 4 games (ATL-PIT-TBL-MTL), here are the total minutes played by the 6 D-Men. (We all know Picard sat out the first one and was eased in after.)

    Picard——– 83:35
    Phillips——- 81:46
    Volchenkov– 81:31
    Campoli—— 75:34
    Carkner—— 72:00
    Karlsson—— 68:53

    The D have also been logging more minutes than the top forwards (which is normal), so yes, PICARD IS LEADING THE TEAM IN ICE TIME LATELY! (Yes, I know this won’t continue with Kuba back.) Special teams makes all the difference.

    Go Sens Go!

  10. Agreed, the trade would not happen, but that’s all the Sens would have to offer.
    As for Kelly, I like him, a lot, but I simply do not see where he’s worth much more to this team than Bass or Regin. His salary could be better used elsewhere (like signing Volchy), thus making moving him, while his value is atleast decent, a strategy worth exploring.
    Again, it’s nothing personal, just that I think the team would barely miss him if he were gone, but he could actually help another club. That would be win/win for all involved.
    As for Picard (I can’t get it into my head there’s no K, lol), yes, his icetime has been up, but his ATOI is still 3rd on the team for defensman.
    I’ve been fairly happy with his game, but he really needs to imrprove his “vision”. Too often he leaves the spot the puck is going to be, and instead chases to where the puck is. Also, another good example was during the last game, on the PP, he just froze with the puck at the blueline, until he ran out of options. He needs to imrpove his on ice thinking…and I believe he will.

  11. Right, right and right! Well, we agress on mostly everything…I love having interesting discussions about the Sens! I kinda disagree about Kelly at this point in time, though. Experience has a high value and this guy has been through a lot. Come playoff time, or protecting a one-goal lead with 30 seconds left, or short handed against a team full of snipers…I’d be much happier seeing Kels come over the boards than Bass or Regin (or Zack Smith, etc.) Is he worth the extra money in a cap world? Hmm…good question. Good thing it’s up to BM in all his wisdom and not us, eh? My opinion is that Kels is a bit overpaid and “over-termed”, but not as much as people say. I think many teams would take him with his current contract. Imagine if the Sens placed him on waivers tomorrow….my guess would be about 10 teams would put in a claim. I also heard that he took a bit less money (but more term) when he was a UFA to stay in Ottawa (just like Neiler.) It’s kinda fun with the salary cap to try and give opinions on how you thnk “your” team should spend it’s money. More here, less there. So far, since the lockout, successful teams have been all over the map on how they spend their money, so there seems to be a few different paths to the cup. I don’t think there has been that much success for teams that don’t spend close to the limit, though. I also think the one common trait for the cup winners (Carolina, Anaheim, Detroit, Pittsburgh) has been having a few guys playing for less than another team would pay them. Usually, these are young players still on their entry level deals (already playing like veterans) or veterans taking the “home town discount.” For the 09-10 Sens, here’s a question: Do they have any or enough of these “value” guys? Who are they?

    PS: Picard scares me too! I’m glad he’s stepped up a bit, but I’m not convinced he’ll stay consistent. He might, but I just don’t know. Pairing him with Carkner has really worked well, though. They seem to make a great 5-6 pairing for even strength time. For special teams, they each specialize on a different one, which is good for your bottom D pairing! I guess the hole is still in the 3-4 slot with Kuba. Looks like Karlsson will get his shot there, with management hoping “big brother Filip” can teach and cover for Special K. Neither of them is physical, though, so I guess it adds to the challenges for Clouston. Where this leaves Campoli and Lee is up for debate. I guess injuries or someone playing poorly will be how they can get their shots! I’m sure many people would say sending Karlsson to Bingo and putting Lee in his place would help the team, as Lee has at least shown he can throw some body checks on occassion. We’ll just have to trust Uncle Bryan for now! (Maybe he’ll do this later in the year?)

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