The HD Corner: Now What with the Sens?

Posted by Neil in Columns,The HD Corner on February 2, 2009 — No Comments

Well that was quick. The Craig Hartsburg era is officially over after lasting a whole 48 games.  Now comes Cory Clouston from the Sens’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton to try and right the ship. With this season pretty much being a wash, and the Sens now firmly entrenched in the Jonathan Tavares sweepstakes, here are several options for owner Eugene Melnyk to undertake:

Trade Alfie: (likelihood of this happening: 0.2%)
I know he is getting old and is under contract until 2012/2013, but he is one of the only Sens that has shown anything that resembles emotion come playoff time – well him and Lyndon Slewidge. His cap hit isn’t too bad – a modest $4.4 mil per season – and therefore doesn’t harm team payroll too badly.

Trade Spezza (likelihood of this happening: 25%)
For those who don’t remember, there were rumours a year ago of the Sens trying to trade Spezza for Luongo. Now the Sens won’t be able get Luongo’s hair product for Spezza, without Ottawa being forced to throw in a #1 pick. Since Brian Elliott now appears to be the goalie of the future, the Sens immediate need is a puck moving defenceman. An option could be to trade Spezza mainly for cap space and picks, then go after Bouwmeester in the off-season once he becomes a UFA.
A more likely scenario could be…

Trade Fisher and/or Vermette (likelihood of this happening: 50%)
With Fisher having a cap hit of $4.2 mil up to 2012/2013, he is a tad pricey, especially given his oft-injured status. Vermette could be a bit more appetizing for clubs seeking a smooth skating 2-way centre with questionable hands, as his cap hit is only $2.7 mil up to 09/10. The Sens would probably like to trade Fisher over Vermette given the salary, but most clubs would probably prefer Vermette given his potential and gazelle-like stride. Maybe for Oilers’ Tom Gilbert? I’m just saying…

Fire Bryan Murray (likelihood of this happening: 66.66666%)
Bryan Murray needs to go. It should happen now, so the incumbent GM can familiarize himself with the scouting staff leading up to the entry draft. Murray has made countless brutal deals/signings, most notably signing a tandem of Emery and Gerber. His trade of Eaves and Corvo for Stillman and Commodore isn’t exactly paying dividends either at the moment. The rumours of Bob Nicholson manning his post seem quite appealing right now. Starting fresh next season by hiring pal Pat Quinn as coach isn’t a bad idea either. Plus I hear PQ is down to 3 packs a day these days.

Put a muzzle on Jarko Ruutu (likelihood of this happening: 65%)
Once deemed a playoff player, Ruutu needs to “Shut his Yap”, in the words of John Tortorella. Hey, Torts would be a good choice for a new coach too. These days Ruutu is nothing but a headache for the team on the ice and should be sent packing this off-season. At least he isn’t a detriment in the locker room as with previous players (ie: Andre Roy doing blow off of the Sens’ dressing room ping pong table).

Melnyk staying in Barbados and enjoying a few pina coladas on the beach (likelihood of this happening: 85%)
How can this man put up with such an indifferent team year after year?