There are actually people out there who believe the Ottawa Senators could be the second coming of the Philadelphia Flyers circa 2007 and are only a few tweaks away from becoming a contending team again.
We respectfully disagree. It has long been the opinion of this corner that in order for the Senators to embark on a proper rebuild, they have to blow it up real good. And with less than three weeks until the trade deadline, that’s the direction upon which they should focus their energy.
In a cover story in the current issue of The Hockey News, the magazine makes a case for approaching Daniel Alfredsson about whether or not he’d like to waive his no-trade clause to be dealt to a contender. A number of GMs who spoke on condition of anonymity said they would do that very thing, but made it clear there would be no pressure on Alfredsson to accept a trade and, in fact, the request would be made so quietly that nobody would ever know about it.
The Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings, two teams loaded with prospects and young players, were identified as teams who could probably use Alfredsson.
The other player who needs to be dealt with is Mike Fisher, who is struggling through a miserable season and certainly doesn’t look like the passionate, on-the-edge player he has been in the past. (One of the guys in our office jokes Fisher hasn’t been the same since he left the ranks of the celibate. Discuss amongst yourselves.)
The best news from a Senators perspective on that came recently when the Pittsburgh Penguins announced Evgeni Malkin would miss the rest of the season and there was no guarantee when, or if, Sidney Crosby would be back. They need help at centre in a big way and, because of the injuries, have about $8 million in cap room for this season. The big challenge for the Penguins, who have $21.4 million tied up in their top three centres, would be fitting in Fisher’s $4.2 million cap hit the next two seasons.
But what about Nashville? Would Fisher not feel at home there? Has anyone checked their depth chart at centre? Has anyone noticed these days if you shake a tree in Nashville a good, young defenceman falls out of it? And the best thing from a Predators perspective is that while Fisher’s cap hit is $4.2 million, the actual salary paid out in the next two seasons is $4 million and $3 million.
We know Chris Phillips and Jarkko Ruutu will be gone by Feb. 28, but for the Senators to really build their franchise, the cuts must go much deeper than that.
This article was originally published in Metro News. For more hockey commentary, check out Metro Sports.