The defense does not rest

Monday, February 15, 2010 ·

The Matt Cullen trade coupled with waiving Jonathon Cheechoo sends a clear message to all. The Ottawa Senators are going for it. GM Bryan Murray has confirmed he will be addressing the lack of depth on the blueline, and the waiving of Cheechoo leaves him with plenty of cap space to do just that. As it stands now, if Murray waits until March 3rd to make his move(s) he'll be able to acquire a player(s) that has an annual cap hit of around 6.5 million dollars(source: Capgeek.com).

With Picard gone, and Campoli and Karlsson injured, the lack of NHL ready depth in the organisation is quite evident. With that, who's to say the Sens don't acquire two defensemen at the deadline? If the owner is counting on a long playoff run , then management should plan on using at least eight blueliners along the way. The road to the Stanley Cup Final is a war of attrition, especially on the back end. It would not surprise me to see the Sens try and add two d-men at the deadline. If every defenseman is available come playoff time this is what a top eight would look like:

Phillips Volchenkov
Kuba Karlsson
Campoli Carkner
Smith Lee

Derek Smith struggled in making his NHL debut this weekend. The two way contract had something to do with Brian Lee spending most of the season in the minors, but truth be told, Lee just hasn't been good enough either. The injured Chris Campoli has yet to live up to the expectations that came with dealing a 1st round pick for him last season.

So what does 6.5 million buy you? Here are some the top rated UFA rentals on teams that should be selling:

Scott Niedermayer: (he's likely staying put but dare to dream). Has won everything. Having an off year with a -17 rating but still has 37 points. Niedermayer's cap hit is 6.75m, so Murray doesn't have the cap space right now and would have to send another salary the other way to make it work.

Pavel Kubina: Likely available. Plays almost 23 minutes a night, has 34 points and is a plus 6. Won cup with TB in '04. Cap hit of 5m

Marek Zidlicky: It could go either way in Minny. Zidlicky makes 3.35m and is having his customary solid season with 36 points so far. Plays almost 24 minutes a night in all situations.

Andy Sutton: Big, mean and mobile for his 6'6 frame. 2nd in blocks and 7th in hits amongst D-men. Cap hit is 3m

Dennis Seidenberg: Number one in the NHL in blocked shots. Leads Panthers in average ice time and is -1 on mediocre team playing against the oppositions top line every night. Under rated and a bargain rental making 2.25m

Jordan Leopold: Veteran puck mover could provide some depth at an affordable cap hit of 1.75m

Aaron Ward: Closer to the end of his career, The Ottawa native has 3 Stanley Cup rings but has already been waived once this season. No questioning his heart but how much is left in the tank. Cap hit of 2.5m

Carlo Colaiacovo: The former Leaf first rounder has as usual missed some time with injury this season on that St.Louis blueline but has proven to be solid when healthy. Cap hit of 1.283m

Dan Hamhuis: Nashville is not selling but the budget conscience club will have a tough time accommodating a big raise this summer from the 2m he makes. This has fueled trade speculation.

Kurtis Foster: The Carp native is enjoying a monster season by just coming back from that devastating broken leg. He only makes .600m and is now being used as a forward some nights in Tampa.

Having said all that, with an abundance of forwards, don't rule out a "hockey deal" from the Sens that would net a d-man with term left on his contract.

The trade freeze is lifted at midnight on the 28th(The morning of Monday March 1st). Should be a fun couple of days as the deadline is Wednesday the 3rd at 3et.

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Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.
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