|Mike Comrie, who helped the Senators reach the Stanley Cup final two years ago, is back in Ottawa again after a trade with the New York Islanders that also brings defenceman Chris Campoli to the nation's capital (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images).
Mike Comrie is returning to Ottawa and he's bringing a much-coveted puck-moving defenceman with him.
Comrie and young blueliner Chris Campoli are headed to the nation's capital in a trade engineered today by Senators general manager Bryan Murray that sent veteran centre Dean McAmmond to the New York Islanders. The Isles also get the San Jose Sharks' first-round draft pick, obtained by the Senators in the Andrej Meszaros deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning last summer.
It's the second time the 28-year-old Comrie been traded to Ottawa. He was acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes in a Jan. 3, 2007, deal and helped the Senators reach the Stanley Cup final before moving on to the Islanders last season.
"I'm obviously excited," said Comrie about rejoining the Senators. "I played in Ottawa before. I know what's at stake and what it's like and it's an exciting place to play.
"It's a great group of guys and I'm thrilled about the opportunity to play on a great team."
Comrie becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1 but Murray is confident he can possibly keep him in Ottawa beyond this season.
"When I talked to him a short time ago, (Comrie) indicated he really was disappointed when he left Ottawa," said Murray. "He enjoyed it here and he felt that he should have stayed here. I think what we'll find out, with 25 games left, is whether we like each other enough to make a deal this summer to continue (having) Mike stay in Ottawa."
Murray also believes it's a transaction that can help the Senators both now and in the future.
"We've scored 141 goals this year and we haven't been a very good offensive team," said Murray. "We're getting two people with that ability."
He has spent the entire season searching for the type of offensive boost he expects Campoli to bring to the Ottawa blue line.
"We feel that we've acquired a defenceman that will give us some skill back there and some mobility back there that we've been talking about a great deal this year," said Murray of Campoli, 24, who was in his fourth season with the Islanders. "He's young, he's mobile, he's got real decent skill, he's a good first-pass guy and plays on the power play. He's got a great contract going forward (Campoli is signed through the 2009-10 season).
"I've been watching him for awhile now, our scouts like him and the fact that he's mobile and young helps this year and we certainly think, going forward, that it addresses one of our needs."
Comrie said the Senators are getting "a good young skating defenceman" in Campoli.
"He moves the puck well and he'll fit into Ottawa's system like any young skating defenceman would," said Comrie. "He sees the game well, he's a good teammate and someone that the Senators will be able to rely on for many years."
Campoli can't wait to get started with his new team.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity," said Campoli, who had six goals and 23 points in 51 games with the basement-dwelling Isles this season. "(The Senators) are a highly skilled team. I think they've underachieved – that's a consensus thought among people in the league – but I think they're a good team. They've got a lot of potential and I hope to add to that.
"I played in Ottawa before. I know what's at stake and what it's like and it's an exciting place to play. It's a great group of guys and I'm thrilled about the opportunity to play on a great team." - Mike Comrie
"It's going to be a challenge coming to a big hockey market like Ottawa and I'm excited about it. Hopefully, the grind of playing in a city like that will push me to be better and make me turn into the player I think I'm capable of being."
McAmmond, meanwhile, heads to his eighth NHL team. Murray said the 35-year-old veteran, who recently hit the 900-game milestone in league service, was "disappointed" to be given the news that he'll need to pack his bags again.
"He was very quiet when I talked to him," said Murray. "But in saying that, he may now go to New York and have a bigger role for the rest of the year."
Murray admitted he might not be done dealing yet and will continue to explore options up until the National Hockey League's March 4 trade deadline.
"I guess a little bit of it will have to do with how we play in the next few games but very definitely we're going to try, if we can, to address some of our issues," he said. "I think we have to just go to the deadline and see what comes up."