Prediction: deadline day quiet for Sens
To be frank, the Ottawa Senators will probably (99 per cent chance) not be extraordinarily active on deadline day.
With their worst-place finish since the recent-expansion years, Senators GM Bryan Murray did the right thing; he began imploding his team with an eye to the future. Picking up draft picks is exactly what a rebuilding franchise should do, not trade away two first-rounders, and a second-round pick for a 30-35 goals-a-year sniper.
Murray has moved out five veterans (Elliott, Fisher, Ruutu, Kelly, and Kovalev), and mostly for draft picks (now the proud owners of an extra first, second, fifth, and sixth/seventh rounder this draft, and a second/third rounder next year).
The Sens also grabbed pending-UFA Craig Anderson, with hopes of re-signing him imaginably. Re-signing him would lock up their goaltending situation for a few years, giving Robin Lehner enough time to develop. Picking up Marek Svatos off of waivers was also an intelligent move for the team, as head coach Cory Clouston is quite familiar with him, and he does have a high offensive upside. Hopefully they can re-sign him on the cheap (which shouldn't be hard, as he currently makes $800,000.)
With Chris Phillips re-signed ($9.25 million over three years), it is unlikely Ottawa will be shipping out more veterans. Apparently, Chris Campoli has generated some interest, and to be honest he is expendable. Rumours of interest in Filip Kuba are probably too good to be true, and Sergei Gonchar would be impossible to deal in light of his recent injury, lacklustre season, expensive contract, and age. There is a rumour Milan Michalek has generated interest as well, but I don't think he would be worth trading currently, as his value is lower than his upside I imagine.
All that being said, Ottawa will probably make a few deals tomorrow, but nothing of the blockbuster variety. Ottawa doesn't need to make any deals at this rate, as Murray has already made the necessary moves to kick-off the rebuild in style.
With a projected cap space of around $19.8 million for next season, Ottawa could take on a big contract if they are given the proper prospects or draft picks with it. The remaining room next season will be used to re-sign Anderson (UFA), Campoli (RFA), Butler (RFA), Condra (RFA), Svatos (UFA), Zack Smith (RFA), and Ryan Shannon (UFA), none of which should prove terribly expensive. Most of those players will re-sign for less than $1 million, with the exception of Anderson and Campoli who may be slightly higher, but should still be affordable.
I fully expect Pascal Leclaire to be either let go by the club, or signed for dirt cheap as the back-up. I am hoping he is allowed to walk, although if the price is right, he is a good back-up. Plus one has to figure he will be injured, and that would give Lehner time in the N.
With the current players discussed, it is time to turn our attention to the prospects. The Senators are average when it comes to the overall strength of their prospects, but there are a couple of prospects that could make a push to join the big club next season.
On defense, Brian Lee is a lock with the Sens. David Runblad, Jared Cowen and Patrick Wiercioch will be in a position to compete for a spot with the big club next season.
Up front, Bobby Butler has shown he could play with the Sens by registering eight points, including five goals, in 16 games with the team. Zack Smith is a lock in the team's bottom six.
Left wing Jakob Silfverberg could challenge for a spot, but will likely spend another year in the SEL. Erik Condra is also close to having a spot with the big club, with Colin Greening and Corey Locke as remote possibilities.
Between the pipes, Lehner has been getting a taste of professional hockey this season, and has looked fairly solid with the Sens, and the B-Sens this year. Lehner has to work on his rebound control, however he has a ways to go in his developments before he is guaranteed a positions with the big boys. If Ottawa can re-sign Anderson, it'll be curious to see if Lehner backs him up or becomes the starter with the B-Sens (instead of Barry Brust).
All that being said, If the right deal comes across for Murray he will pull the trigger, but don't expect the Sens to be busy.