A couple of stories in the Ottawa Sun today regarding moves that the Senators may be doing prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on next Wednesday, March 4, 2009.
First off, contrary to the thoughts of those who saw the Mike Comrie acquisition as the actions of a buyer, GM Bryan Murray has announced that his asking price for the team's tradeables are draft picks and prospects.
According to the story, Chris Neil is looking for a 127% raise over the $1.1M he's making this season, and is apparently asking for a deal in the $2.5M range. The Senators are apparently offering him $1.5, but Murray has likely decided he can't fit Neil at $2M+ into his long-term plans or a deal would be done by now. Also in the story, however, was an interesting note suggesting that Neil wouldn't mind going to a team with a chance to make a run for the cup--which would certainly include the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings, who have both been rumoured to have interest in Neil (as has the Edmonton Oilers). It would be a shame if the career Senators was traded for sentimental reasons, but he certainly had an off-season last year, and this year--despite increased physical effectiveness--his offensive numbers leave a lot to be desired (2G, 4A, 6P, -12).
The Sens' biggest payoff, though, could come from a deal involving Filip Kuba. He's the team's highest-scoring defenceman with 28 points (1G, 27A), and is on pace for a career-high 40 points. He's making $3M this season, and looking for a raise to $4M, according to the Sun. Assuming Ottawa is not able to re-sign Kuba, he should bring a decent return; at least the second- and third-round picks that Mathieu Schneider was worth, and it's certainly possible he'd be worth a package including a first-rounder or a pretty good prospect.
With Dean McAmmond already dealt (*sniff*), that leaves one final pending UFA: Martin Gerber. According to another Sun story, Murray has said he's heard of a few teams interested in Gerber, and will likely be putting him on re-entry waivers to dump half of his remaining salary. The Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres are apparently two interested teams. How hilarious would it be if the Sabres made a run for the cup with Gerber and Patrick Lalime as their two goaltenders?
Oh yeah, and we're still waiting on the apparently inevitable trade of Christoph Schubert. The guy hasn't played in more than twenty days, I hope it's not Ottawa's side that's holding out on this trade.