Latest on the Predators, Senators, and Sharks.

Should the Senators trade for scoring depth?…Predators GM discusses Ryan Suter contract status…Frustrated Antero Niittymaki wants to play.

OTTAWA SUN: Columnists Tim Baines, Aedan Hemler and  Bruce Garrioch discussed how worthwhile it would be if the Senators were to shop for scoring depth near the trade deadline, suggesting perhaps shopping one of the prospects selected with last year’s three first round picks, other than Mika Zibanejad. They agree it would take Erik Karlsson to land someone like Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan or Rick Nash.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators obviously won’t move Karlsson, who’s emerging as one of the best defensemen in the league. It’s possible Murray could move a prospect to land an additional scorer, but only if that player is on a multi-year contract, and not a fading star. He could opt to move perhaps a second or third round pick for a “quick fix”, but that’ll depend on how the Senators are doing in the standings in a month’s time.

Will the Predators re-sign or trade Suter?

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports Predators GM David Poile remains committed to re-signing UFA defenseman Ryan Suter. Cooper believes Poile won’t trade Suter if the Predators remain in the playoff chase by the trade deadline, even if Suter remains unsigned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So, rumormongers, if you want to see the Predators shop Ryan Suter and/or Shea Weber, start praying they plummet in the standings between now and February 27th. Otherwise, they won’t be dealt at the deadline.

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz reports a frustrated Antero Niittymaki has yet to suit up with the Sharks even as a backup since returning to the lineup from a conditioning stint on December 23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. The Sharks will trade Niittymaki at some point, but they will need to get him into a couple of games in order to interest rival teams.


  1. Think maybe it’s just wise fro the Sens to stay the course this year and keep the young talent. Playing this well is totally outta nowhere and making the playoffs would be icing on the cake. Stay committed to the rebuild and unless you can move a Gonchar(although he is having a decent year) or Kuba for more prospects or picks, don’t pull a Calgary/Toronto.

  2. I do not understand why GMs put themselves in this the position of having to potentially trade away potential UFAs. How many times have we seen teams fighting for the playoffs not trade away potential UFAs only to lose them in July for nothing. If you trade away the player(s) and your team tanks, you’re the goat. If you don’t trade away the player and he walks as a free agent, you’re the goat. More than likely the GM will overpay out of desperation.

    Tell me we can’t all see the writing on the wall. Nashville is not likely to win the cup this year. If unsigned, Weber and/or Suter (probably both) are going to sign with Philly, Toronto, the Rangers, Pittsburgh, Detroit, or a handful of other teams.

    This same drama plays out every year. Don’t GMs ever learn? In my opinion, unless you’re a serious cup contender you trade high-value UFAs regardless. If they’re committed to the team they’ll sign. Weber is, I believe, a RFA at the end of the year so I’d hold him but Suter should be traded.

  3. I agree to keep Sutter and go out in the first round is just plain bad management. You look at a team like the oilers who are loaded with young tallent and would make the trade if Tambo could grow a pair. I think its a good fit. Throw in MPS, Hemskey and one of the top 3 d youngsters they have and both sides win provided the oilers can get Sutter signed. This could be sorted out before the deal of course.

  4. the addition of Kyle Turris was significant for the Senators , they now have 4 solid lines and barring any injuries I don’t think they will need any last minute help up front. I do however see them going after a vet with playoff experience on the backend ( Pitkanen, Beauchemin, Lydman, Sutton to name a few ) without sacrificing too much in the way of prospects ( and they have lots of very good prospects). This team has bought in to Paul MacLean’s system and are playing very well as a team.

  5. I think the Sens should make a move if it isn’t too much future … nothing more then a depth prospect or 2nd round pick. For me I would love to see one of those rare division deals and see them connect with the Leafs. Watching the game last night Sportsnet was talking about maybe seeing Clarke MacArthur move for just a pick. With some important RFA/UFA’s (Liles, Franson, Aulie, Grabo, Kulie, Boyce, Grabb, Gustavsson) it’d be nice to see them move some cap space. Kadri is finally sticking with the club and Colbourne is showing he will be ready for next year.

    MacArthur would provide valuable scoring depth to the Senators at a decent cost, I am thinking a 2nd round pick or so and is signed up for another year and can play both 2nd and 3rd line while putting up 20+ goals a season. I’d see after that if Toronto could maybe move Armstrong to a team either this season or in the off season.

    I do agree with fergy22 that Ottawa should also maybe consider a very cheap depth defender with some playoff experience. Even if it is just a flash in the pan I don’t think the Sens are going to go away and they are going to just get better next season with the addition of some great rookies, cap space, and Kuba coming off the books.

    I personally think that Filatov, Zibanejad, Da Costa, Puempel, and Lehner all stick with the club next year or have a really good shot. So making a smaller move for that depth now isn’t a bad idea.

  6. Sorry Lyle, but I have to disagree. Karlsson is one the worst defencemen in the league. Though he is amazing with the puck – shooting, passing, and dangling – his defensive game is painful to watch. He doesn’t really have quality mentors, but he will definitely challenge a Norris eventually…..just not for several years. Great skater though.

  7. JDBGiGC: I agree with most of your points in general. The reason GM’s continually keep players for the playoffs is that I think they all have the philosophy, we just need to get in and anything can happen. While this is entirely true and maybe Nashville gets hot at the right time or gets some timely bounces and makes an unpredicted run to the cup, I think all of us outside of Nashville are almost certain they go out in the first round, or maybe the 2nd. I can’t totally fault GM’s for these types of decisions, but if the right deal is it does seem a little crazy to pass it up.

    TearsforColtonOrr: I don’t really understand you’re comments. First off, Karlsson is clearly not one of the worst defensemen in the league, though he may not be one of the best. But how can you say someone will challenge for a Norris trophy when they’re one of the worst defensemen in the league!? IMO, Karlsson is one of the best up and coming defensemen in the league, which may be what Lyle meant. No, he is not comparable to Weber, Keith, Chara, Doughty, but does have the potential to be down the road.

  8. @tears , I predicted at the start of the year that Karlsson would have 50 pts but be a minus 50 (+/- ) . He is doing better than I had expected , although he still makes some gaffs. His biggest challenge is handling a big power forward going full tilt to the net.

    I agree he has a ways to go defensively but he has improved alot from last year. Offensively ( seeing the ice , rushing the puck and jumping into the rush ) he is right now one of the best in the league and he is only 21! Down the road ( 2 – 3 years ) once Cowan has matured I could see them as being a dynamic duo ( kinda Mutt & Jeff like )

    I believe part of the reason Gonchar was brought onboard last year was to mentor Karlsson. Not sure he is the ideal mentor , but in his prime Gonchar had all the tools.

    I live in Ottawa , a Wings fan but moreso a hockey fan, but I am not biased . I get to watch him lots and this kid is the real deal. It will be interesting to see what his new contract brings ( RFA end of this season )

  9. if the sens had an actual #1 goalie they could do some damage but i cant see them going far with anderson.


    Please call Bob Murray and explain this to him, he may be the worst in league in letting vets go and getting NOTHING IN RETURN. Burke also had that problem when he was here. Some GM’s just don’t understand that players are “ASSETS” . It’s like hey I’ve driven this car for 5 years and I’ll just let it go for nothing rather than trade it in and get some value back.

  11. JJb, most of the young guys on the senators have come up through the AHL or college ranks, they have not just jumped from the CHL. Sure maybe Zibanejad may make the jump next year but guys like Puempel definitely will not. Don’t rush your young guys or you will risk ruining them before they even have a had a chance to develop. I hope the senators have enough sense in this regard. Also, do you really think the leafs would trade MacArthur to a division rival, especially Ottawa. The senators would have to really blow Burkes socks off with an offer for that scenario to ever happen. @Tears, how can you say Karlsson is one of the worst d-men in the league. He is +7 on a team that gives up its fair share of goals. I am a leafs fan and would take this kid onto my team in a split second. I would also consider Phillips a pretty good mentor. @ fergy22, I agree that Turris has improved the senators. So far he has impressed and thus they win this trade so far. Could be a great steal. @claysbar, I totally agree, stay the course. Trading away prospects doesn’t make any sense at this point, because even though they may make the playoffs they will not will the cup. Afterall, as Burke says, just getting into the playoffs is not the ultimate end goal, the cup is.

  12. I just do not see the urgency for Ottawa to start trading Stefan Noesen, Matt Puempel, Shane Prince, Mika Zibanejad (In WJT, did you notice the power & speed he attacks the net?), or Jakob Silfverberg, who also is pretty close.
    Yeah, a managable longer term contract of a mid-line player might seem alluring, but I don’t know how much you gain with trading futures for fillers.
    IF I was the Ottawa GM and a real player was available, I think Mark Stone is who I trade, becuae he was the hyped hero of team Canada at the World Junior and teams may put that experience ahead of the fact he really doesn’t ever carry the puck much, and is more “Brunette-like” in that he sets up extremely well behind the goal line and has been opporttunistic in the front.
    Not trying to negate his positioves, but I am not so sure how well his present game translates to the NHL, so his present value may bring more than his upside. But if the Senas (or I) am wrong, they face big tome criticism if they trade a prospect who develops elsewhere in exchange for now player, when they are not actually close to knocking on Boston’s door.

  13. Stay the course Murray. Do NOT trade any prospects (especially any of the 3 first rounders from last draft) or picks.

    This is still a re-build. Yes the Sens are in the playoffs at the present. But the standings are very close. The Sens have a very tough schedule left in January — all but 1 game on the road against some very tough teams. They could just as easily be out of the top 8 by the end of January. If they lose Karlsson or Spezza for any length of time… they will be out of the top 8…

    They are playing great right now… and I cheer win or lose. But this is still a re-build.. in it’s first year. If they make the playoffs — that’s just gravy… but it would probably be in 7 or 8 spot to go against the top 2 seeds. Sens have struggled against the elite teams. So they would lose in the 1st round. Giving up a piece of the future for 1 playoff round…. to me is just too much…

    @habsolutely416 — I guess you don’t remember Anderson carrying a very young Avs team into the playoffs. They did lose in the 1st round but it took 7 games I believe. Anderson can be hot and cold at times. How do you think the Habs got to the conference final? HALAK…

  14. JDBGIGC, could be worse. We sabre fans have “no trades til the deadline darcy’. When will this guy pull the trigger on a deal ? Any deal. Make a move for god sake !!!!

  15. Why would the Sens need scoring depth? They’re one of the highest scoring teams in the league. If they should focus on any additions it should be of the shutdown variety (3rd liner or especially at D) given how many shots they allow per game.

  16. The Oilers should go after Suter. Weber would never play in Edmo. But if the Oilers could aquire another first round pickand package it with a MPS and another good D prospect that may be able to fetch the negotiating rights to Suter. Provided they can talk before making the deal and not have another Hamhuis situation

  17. 06-07 Ducks (senators making conference finals)
    05-06 Canes (oilers making conference finals)
    03-04 Bolts

    Habs/Flyers making finals a year or two back

    The last decade has seen a lot of off the cuff teams come in hard and push far. Plus hockey is also a business and playoff hockey, even one round generates a TON of cash. This is why GM’s make the choice.

  18. In my opinion the Senator’s should and will do very little at the trade deadline. They’re developing a good young team and the east is so tight that a playoff birth is anything but guranateed unless you’re Boston, N.Y.R. or possibly Philadelphia. Maybe a veteran d. or forward if it doesn’t cost too much but that’s it. They aren’t good enought to challenge for the cup this year even if they do get in so what’s the rush.
    Karlsson is a budding superstar so there’s no chance he’s moving. Anderson has provided Ottawa with some stability and consistancy in net this season, something the Senator’s never seemed to have in the past when they needed it. Lehner’s a good prospect but he likely won’t be in the NHL until next season, barring injuries.

  19. Perry, Ryan, and Nash aren’t “scoring depth”; they’re scoring. Depth is guys who play 3rd line and can score one every three or four games.

    They do have room for a good player to play top or second line… I think Michalek fits well up there with Spezza. Maybe Hemsky, if Edmonton accepts what he’s worth (a 2nd round pick).

  20. As a devoted True Blue Leafs fan (read, HATES SENATORS), I must give credit where credit is due. Sens have performed much better than I ever expected this year. Murray mostly blew it up, and seems to have hired a solid coach steeped in the Red Wings philosophy of calm patient development, coupled with a mature and experienced approach to disciplined winning hockey. Really hurts me to say this..
    In conclusion, If I were Murray, I would not change a thing, and would hang on to picks and prospects.

    @ JJB..what James said..Ditto.

    @ Alforducks..Burke won a cup.Please do not compare him to Bobby Doolittle. They are worlds apart.

    Question for Lyle ( and everyone else). ..

    As JJB suggests, do Leafs trade Armstrong? Where does he go when he returns? Do you send Kadri back down to the Marlies? Is Armstrong actually a trade-able piece? Who might be interested, and what would Leafs get in return? When in the lineup, he used to skew their win percentage when he played, but they seem OK without him. Whose place does he take on the current roster?

  21. Armstrong would be difficult to move. He is also in the dog house for hiding concussion symptoms. He may not be healthy to play in the short term, therefore decreasing his worth for possible trade. Madrid has earned a spot, so its possible Burke moves a forward or two along with a dman for a top two line player. Wouldn’t be surprised if Burke sends someone else down, as he is not afraid to make room for young guys that earn their place on the Leafs.(example: Beauchemin dealt for Aulie to come up)

  22. Just to add my two cents, the Ottawa Senators need some playoff depth at forward and defense. In terms of players potentially available and that would build with the players they have now I would suggest the following: Scott Hannan, CGY (Former 1st round pick, plays a solid 20mins / gm, is a -8 but on a brutal CGY team and 82 playoff games to boot, he also has a cheap contract), Tuomo Ruutu, CAR (Former 1st round pick, expiring contract, 16 playoff games, good 2 way player, Ottawa hx with the Ruutu family), Tim Gleason, CAR (Former Ottawa 1st round Draft Pick, 18 playoff game experience, +1 on a bad CAR team, expiring contract), Jaroslav Spacek, CAR (61 playoff game experience, expiring contract although more of a deadline deal, veteran player), Steve Staios, NYI (33 playoff game experience, expiring contract, good veteran presence in the locker room), Frans Neilsen, NYI (unproven playoff experience, cheap cheap expiring contract, good depth player), Mark Eaton, NYI (Playoff experience, expiring contract, veteran presence in the locker room), Adrian Aucoin, PHX (Veteran experience, expiring contract), Andy Sutton, EDM (I know they had him once but still good big physical presence), Teddy Purcell, TBL ( unlikely to be traded, playoff scorer 1 year ago, 1 year left on contract), Adam Hall TBL (Depth Player, 35 games of playoff experience, exp contract), MA Bergeron, TBL (cheap contract, good on the PP and puck moving D, +8 and 24 pp this year, playoff experience)

    I only plucked off players from teams in the bottom half of the eastern and western conferences due to the likelihood that they will be sellers at the trade deadline, and I looked at players that would not likely cost too much in terms of young assets of the Sens. I would trade a 2nd round maybe for a teddy purcell and a 3rd, but I would not move a 2nd round pick unless there is future asset or conditional draft pick if the player is resigned. I would be willing to trade anything less than a 3rd for a renta player. Filatov, Da Costa, O’Brien (All RFAs in 2012-2013 season). Regin, Kuba, Lee are all available. I would though check on what Kuba is asking to resign in Ottawa, Regin is not a blue chip prospect due to his injury issues and Lee is a good stay at home D but not worth the 1st round that he was drafted.

  23. That is some interesting points and in the concept your providing I agree completely with you. However the stupidest thing the Sens could do at this point is move out prospects and picks for “playoff experience”. Going into this year, it was all about rebuilding. No one expected them to be a playoff team whatsoever. By chance they certainly appear at the halfway point to be on their way to the post season. However, lets not kid ourselves here, in that this is still a young, rebuilding team that could just as easily not make the playoffs. And even if they did, this is not a team that will probably go deep, much less win the cup. Since the goal this year is to rebuild and gain as much experience as possible for your young, up and coming players, it would be foolish to move usable assets needed in the long term for a shorter term solution that also may take ice time away from a young player. It would be a complete change of face from what the yearly goal is and what they’re trying to accomplish as an organization.
    Now if you can move a vet like Kuba or Gonchar who are having betters years for a solid asset (especially a prospect or piece to rebuild with) then you do it because these guys won’t be helping you in 2 or 3 years when your ready to make a serious run. As for Regin, Kuba, Lee, no one wants them (again maybe Kuba) and your probably not going to get much for them. I mean they’ve been pushing Lee for 2 years now on anyone who’ll take him. So don’t expect the Sens to get much for their spare parts.