It doesn’t take a genius to assess Ottawa’s blue line and realize that it lacks proven NHL talent. Gene can yammer on all he wants about loving the team's depth, but having a slew of warm bodies means nothing unless this depth can be effective players at the game's highest level.
Beyond the four veterans, we enter a world where Mark Borowiecki, Patrick Wiercioch and Andre Benoit have a combined 18 games of NHL experience under their collective belts.
It seems like just yesterday when one of the strengths of this team was its wealth of defensive riches. With a group that featured Zdeno Chara, Phillips, Anton Volchenkov, Wade Redden, Andrej Meszaros, Filip Novak and Brian Pothier. Okay, so it wasn’t yesterday. It was 2005-06 and yeah, maybe one of those names doesn’t belong either.
Some have stated that one of the benefits of a lockout (puke!) is the fact that a number of the young players or veteran AHL fodder will have a leg up on the competition in the early going because they’re already in game mode and should have their instincts and reactions in mid-season mode. I hope so because if these three players can hold their own, it will prevent Bryan Murray from sifting the scrapheap.
Wait, what’s that you say Mr. Garrioch?
"The Sens have looked at the free agent market to see what’s available. It’s believed they’ve held talks with the likes of Chris Campoli and Milan Jurcina."
As nice as it is to hear Chris Campoli can actually remain civil when dealing with NHL management and ownership types, I'm just not sure we need a sequel here.
I mean, when Campoli’s biggest contribution to the organization is that he and a seventh rounder miraculously netted the organization a 2011 second round pick (that was subsequently flipped to Detroit at the NHL Draft so that Ottawa could move up to select Matt Puempel in the first round) and Ryan Potulny from Chicago. It almost takes the sting out of the Senators acquiring for a late first rounder in 2009.
Oh, and there is always this…
Wait, there’s more you say?
However, the club doesn’t want to make any commitments for the time being.
Oh thank goodness. Those guys are terrible.
Campoli has never been anything more than a third pairing/second power play unit guy who plays soft minutes against weak competition. Despite these advantages, his puck-moving has never really thrived.
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Jurcina is a different breed entirely.
He's the guy who the Isles replaced with Matt Carkner. Let that sink in for a second before I mention that last season, he had the worst +/- in the entire NHL with a resound -34. That's like Darren Rumble bad.
Although his Hockey Reference page lists him at 6'4" and 253 lbs,the 2012/13 Hockey Prospectus Annual describes him as a mild mannered player. Uh oh. Danger. Danger. It's that Filip Kuba redux. By the end of the 2013 season, we'd all be joking that Jurcina's Czech name loosely translates to "the bane of Brennan".
Looking at his advanced peripherals, the low PDO reflects some bad luck or perhaps more appropriately, it's the result of some egregiously bad Islanders goaltending last season. Now with that being said, he has never been more than a bottom pairing guy who plays against relatively soft competition.
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There's a good reason why these guys are still available in free agency; soon to be joined by former Senator Wade Redden. Fortunately, we don't have to hold out hope for a reunion.
For all those asking, Wade Redden isn't coming to OTT. Sens asked him to waive his no move clause his final year. They don't want him back.
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) January 15, 2013
With the remainder of the UFA crop resembling an island of misfit toys, Bryan Murray has never been one to be shy about supplementing his roster with a deal. As much as I don't want to get ahead of myself and get my hopes up that Ottawa could land one of the few worthwhile defenders available come July, one look at this summer's crop of free agents, reaffirms that it's probably in the Senators' best interests to work the trade market for quality solution.
I suppose the real worry here is that the organization would/will move future assets and potentially net a player who is just a short-term fix. At the risk of expending future assets on a such a short-term solutions, it'd be more preferable to see them parlay those assets in quantity to bring in a more talented player.
In this sense, it's understandable to let the Benoits/Wierciochs/Borowieckis have their run before considering bringing in a warm free agent body making league minimum to plug in in the interim.