by Todd Anderson
With centres Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher and Antoine Vermette out of the lineup with injuries, Ottawa Senators general manager John Muckler helped fill the gap today by acquiring Mike Comrie from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for prospect Alexei Kaigorodov.
"Very seldom are you going to lose your (top three) centre-ice men. We felt we needed a little more offence," Muckler explained on why he made the trade. "The team has been playing very well. We just felt over the long run we needed a push on the offensive side."
There's a chance the Senators' newest player will be in the lineup tonight when the club hosts the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place. Comrie was expected to arrive in Ottawa this afternoon.
Senators head coach Bryan Murray, who didn't want to speculate on whom Comrie would play with if he was available for tonight, said he's happy with the addition. During his days as the general manager of the Anaheim Ducks, Murray saw quite a bit of Comrie, who then played for the Edmonton Oilers.
"He seemed to be a thorn in the side of our team every time we would go in there," Murray recalls. "He's a skilled player, a point-getter. He's played pretty well in the NHL. He should add some offence to this group. We've been short in our ability to score; Mike gives us an upgrade."
With both Fisher and Spezza out for a period of time with knee injuries, and fellow centre Vermette day-to-day with a hip injury, Chris Kelly has been given more minutes playing in between Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson. He doesn't mind if Comrie will take away some of those minutes.
"He's a great player and especially in our situation right now, he should help out," Kelly said. "It never hurts to add depth on the team. I'm just trying to help out where I can."
Comrie, 26, has played in 24 games with the Coyotes this season, recording seven goals, 13 assists and 20 penalty minutes. In six NHL seasons, Comrie has scored 110 goals, 127 assists and 252 penalty minutes in 345 games.
Shortly after arriving at Carp Airport this afternoon, Comrie spoke about becoming a Senator.
Click here for Comrie's answer to, "when did you find out about the trade and from who?"
Click here for Comrie's answer to, "what do you know about the Senators?"
Click here for Comrie's answer to, "did you believe there was a trade coming?"