|The Feb. 12 trade to obtain Matt Cullen from the Carolina Hurricanes turned out to be the biggest move by Senators GM Bryan Murray before the NHL trade deadline. Ottawa also acquired defenceman Andy Sutton on Monday but stood pat on deadline day (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
With a flurry of wheeling and dealing, the National Hockey League's annual trade deadline altered the face of a number of teams.
This year, at least, the Ottawa Senators watched it all from the sidelines.
For only the third time, the Senators weren't active participants on trade deadline day, though it wasn't for lack of trying. General manager Bryan Murray fielded a number of calls but didn't hear an offer he felt would provide an upgrade to his team's roster.
"I talked to a number of managers today, but there was nothing more (available) that I felt would help our hockey team and that I was willing to pay a price for," Murray said after the 3 p.m. deadline had come and gone.
As it turned out, Murray got his shopping done early. On Feb. 12, he obtained centre/forward Matt Cullen from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenceman Alex Picard and a draft pick. Then on Monday, big defenceman Andy Sutton was obtained from the New York Islanders for a second-round pick.
Those additions, Murray believes, supply the kind of depth the Senators need for the stretch run and any post-season action that follows.
"Matt Cullen (is) a very versatile forward, a guy that can play in our top six and a player that gives us some depth up front now," said Murray. "I think now we're 14 or 15 forwards deep, so if we are in the playoffs and make a run, I think we're fairly well protected in that area."
Bringing Sutton on board gives the Senators eight NHL-calibre defencemen. While Filip Kuba
went down with a lower-body injury Tuesday night against the New York Rangers, Murray said the veteran blueliner "may miss a game or two but beyond that, he should be ready to play."
"Overall, I like our depth in both areas," added Murray. "Now it's just a matter of playing games and trying to win (enough) to get into the playoffs."
"I talked to a number of managers today, but there was nothing more (available) that I felt would help our hockey team and that I was willing to pay a price for." - Bryan Murray
Senators head coach Cory Clouston also likes the shape of the team going forward.
"I'm very happy with the team," he said. "We like our team and we like our chemistry. We're very happy with that."
Captain Daniel Alfredsson
is confident, too, that the Senators are well-fortified for the stretch run.
"Bryan has given us two players who have been around for awhile (Cullen and Sutton) to help us and give us more depth," he said. "I definitely like our team."
While Murray received "a couple of calls" about pending unrestricted free agent defenceman Anton Volchenkov, he decided moving the blueliner wasn't a viable option. Murray and Volchenkov's agent, Jay Grossman, plan to continue talks toward a possible new contract that would keep the Russian defenceman off the free-agent market come July 1.
"We didn’t get anything done (today) but we are talking and that’s a good thing," said Murray. "I’ve said all along that what I want to do here, by adding Matt Cullen and Andy Sutton and acquiring enough depth, is to give our team the best chance come the latter part of the year and then the playoffs. The message would have been kind of mixed if I would have gone out and moved a player like Anton."