by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators players were given a vote of confidence today when general manager John Muckler announced that he had no intention of trading away any of the current roster players before tomorrow's NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m.
"Our objective here is to keep this team together, and I think it's been that way since I came here," Muckler said after practice today at Scotiabank Place. "I felt this was a good hockey club going into Day 1 of training camp. We've improved, and the coaching staff has done a good job in putting the pieces together. We're going to try and do things to make it better but if we can't do anything, I have all the confidence in the world with the players in the dressing room. I think they can put it all together."
Head coach Bryan Murray is also confident with the club.
"We have a competitive team, we know that. I think the guys have worked fairly hard throughout. We'll just play the bodies that are there, and I think we'll compete very well. We have a couple of younger guys in the minors that I think can come up and fill a role."
Muckler says if he does make a move before tomorrow's deadline, the compensation going the other way could be a draft pick or drafted player within the organization. He spoke about what type of player he's looking for.
"I think our defence is okay but I think we need some depth. We have been in negotiations with a couple of teams to get a depth player. I think you need eight defencemen going into the Stanley Cup playoffs, especially if you go into it deep. We'd like to get a player who can play regularly up front if we can. If we can't, we can't. Again, I'm not trading anybody off our team."
With the deadline approaching and demands high, Muckler remains patient.
"We do want to do certain things, but the prices are too high right now. When I look at our hockey club, which is the fourth youngest hockey club in the National Hockey League, and expectations are so high, it means that we have a pretty good hockey club. One thing about the trade deadline is you also have to think about the future of your organization and where it's going. The first thing you don't want to do is injure that progress."
Is there a chance the demands will lower before tomorrow's deadline?
"Yes, there is. That's what we're waiting for," Muckler says. "We're going to stay in the game right until the end. And if we have the opportunity to make this club a better club, we'll do that."