I may have come off as disapproving of the Antoine Vermette for Pascal Leclaire deal on Tuesday, so let me make it clear: This was a great deal for the Senators.
In a market where there were very few quality goalies on the market, or becoming free agents in the summer, Bryan Murray found one. Of course, Leclaire will not solve all of the Senators' problems. In fact, I would go as far as saying that he will not solve any of the Sens' problems in the next year. Ottawa has one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL, and if a team can't score goals, it can't win games--no matter who is in net.
Vermette has not contributed enough to the Senators to warrant his contract. As much as he acted surprised on television, he must have known that he was too expensive for the 11 goals and 37 points he's on pace to collect this year. His name has been in trade rumours for years, and to be honest, this trade is overdue. The fact that Bryan Murray acquired a second-round pick from Columbus as well helps make up for the late first-round pick given to the Islanders in February.
Giving away another forward means that the Sens now must re-sign Mike Comrie--they'll need his points next year. There's no one waiting on the farm to fill in on the second line. No one that can contribite 50 points, anyway.
On the other hand, re-signing Filip Kuba is definitely questionable. I just don't like 3-year deals worth $11-million. They remind me of Gerber...shudder. Though the Senators have definitely struggled to score goals this year, they haven't been tough enough on defence either. Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips have not lived up to their billing as a shut-down tandem this season, and criticisms of Kuba for his toughness are legitimate--even Bryan Murray acknowledged that when he discussed the signing at a press conference.
PS: Gahhh... Steve Downie... you know you're still on notice right? As are the Senators themselves, in case anyone is keeping track. I wonder when we'll forgive them...