The Weight is over

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Is Doug Weight worth Antoine Vermette, Anton Volchenkov and a No. 1 draft pick?

The Senators didn't think so and that's why the free-agent centre won't be playing here this season.

The St. Louis Blues dealt Weight, 35, to the Carolina Hurricanes for forwards Mike Zigomanis, Jesse Boulerice, unsigned draft pick Magnus Kahnberg and three draft picks yesterday. Now, Senators GM John Muckler, who says "Weight is a pretty good hockey player," will turn his attention elsewhere.

"Yes, we were in there," said Muckler, who for the last six weeks had tried to make a deal with the Blues. "It was just too expensive a trade for us. They wanted two players off our team and a No. 1 pick.

"We were not going to make that kind of deal. We're in the driver's seat here. We lead the league in goals for, goals against and we're at the top of the standings. If we can add a player to make us better we will, but we may do nothing at all."

Another factor was money. Weight is making $5.7 million (all figures US) and has about $2 million left on his deal. The Predators and Flames were also rebuffed by the Blues.

"This is obviously a big trade for Carolina and I guess it shows that they are going for it," said Senators coach Bryan Murray.

The Senators didn't want to pay a high price to bring in Weight, who agreed to waive his no-trade clause late Sunday.

"This is a deal that is going to help the Carolina franchise," said a league executive. "They need to do this to show the people in that market they're serious about winning a Stanley Cup. The Senators weren't going to pay that kind of price for a rental player. Volchenkov is a guy you can build your defence around and Vermette has upside. Ottawa wants to add depth. They don't want to shake things up this much and I don't even think the No. 1 pick was a discussion point."

Weight is just happy to get a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Sources say he wanted a chance to play with the Senators, but wasn't going to say no when GM Larry Pleau presented the Carolina option during a meeting Sunday following practice.

Muckler said there are other options available:

- League sources say Muckler is eyeing Florida centre Olli Jokinen, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Panthers are trying to get Jokinen signed before the March 9 trade deadline, but if a deal isn't in place then GM Mike Keenan will likely make a move.

- The Oilers are still in the playoff race, but there's plenty of talk centre Michael Peca could be on the move. A UFA this summer, Peca might be a nice fit here.

- Another option is New York Rangers C Steve Rucchin. Murray is a big fan of this guy and the club made a pitch in the summer.


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