Sens will not sell future
The Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson deal may have been the biggest of the near-deadline trades yet, but the Senators are no longer sitting/waiting/wishing for a replacement between the pipes.
Bryan Murray pulled the trigger on a deal that brought the montrous Ben Bishop, who stands at 6'7, to Ottawa on Sunday, which makes Ottawa's wait for starter Craig Anderson much less nerve-wracking. I have always enjoyed Alex Auld's game, but not enough that I am willing to rely fully on him down the stretch.
Anderson might not miss significant time, but tendon damage to his pinkie finger is a big enough deal that insurance was neccesary. Bishop offers a solid back-up option for this season behind Auld - assuming Anderson won't play many of the season's remaining games due to the injury - and also gives the Senators great depth in net for the future.
Robin Lehner played for the Senators Sunday night, and has been marked as the goalie-of-the-future at just 20 years old. I watched the young netminder make 44 saves for the B-Sens against the St. John's IceCaps earlier this month, and he certainly lives up the the billing. A scout at the game told me he may be the best prospect to have played in Mile One Centre this season, which is a big compliment.
However, it never hurts to have a deep prospect line in net. Bishop is a 25-year-old goaltender with 150+ AHL games, who has consistently improved in his professional career. He is widely-regarded to be ready for the NHL, which would explain the Blues trading him, as you can't keep an NHL-ready goalie down in the AHL for too long, especially because he was set to become a UFA as a result of that as season's end.
All that being said, Murray is still seeking a top-six forward, ideally a winger. Kyle Turris solved the second-line centre conundrum in Ottawa, and is part of the rebuild at just 22 years old. Murray will likely seek another young top-six forward, who the Senators can continue to build with for the future.
The problem is that young, top-six forwards come at a high price. I would love to see a deal to bring in James van Riemsdyk, Matt Duchene, or to a lesser extent, Derick Brassard, but the asking price will be exceptionally high. Plus, Ottawa is in no-rus to over-pay for a winger, with players like Mark Stone, Jakob Silfverberg, Mika Zibanejad, and even Matt Puempel and Stefan Noesen competing for the open spot or two in the top six. Also, Nick Foligno, Bobby Butler and Colin Greening will be looking to earn a spot in the top-six, and might be able to next season. Peter Regin is a wild card, as always, and without injuries could find himself in the top-six.
Murray definitely has assets to use if he wants to bring pieces in, but there is no rush. The team was slated to bomb this season, but should end up in the playoffs. Murray has also brought in two high-calibre, young, NHL players in Turris and Bishop (who Murray signed to a one-year, one-way contract extension for next season) this season, and has continued to build for the future. If he can grab a young NHL player for a reasonable price, he will, but he will not be looking to derail the rebuilding process with rentals.