NEWARK, N.J. -- Senators GM Bryan Murray didn't have time to go over to the Prudential Center for yesterday's optional skate.
He had work to do.
"I want to get back on the phones," said Murray. "With the exception of a couple of teams, I've probably spoken to everybody a couple of times just to see where they're at and what they're doing."
Yes, folks, the countdown to the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline is on.
Instead of returning to Ottawa with the Senators after last night's game against the Devils, Murray will hit the road for a couple of days of scouting before heading to Naples, Fla., on Sunday for the GMs' meetings where trade talk will certainly heat up.
After acquiring defenceman Mike Commodore and winger Cory Stillman from the Hurricanes on Monday for Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves, Murray made it clear he's not done.
"I'm still looking around and I'd like to make at least one more move," said Murray.
The Senators' needs are pretty specific as they prepare to make a run to the Stanley Cup final. Murray would like to add a scoring winger to play with Mike Fisher and Stillman down the stretch.
And, if possible, the GM would also like to add a blueliner to man the point on power plays. Murray wanted to keep Corvo, but his agent, Justin Duberman, called the Senators several times requesting a trade, which pretty much forced the team's hand.
Murray's needs aren't impossible to fill, but they could become more expensive as the deadline gets closer -- especially since he'd rather not give up anybody off the roster.
The Senators have a list of forwards they're looking at right now:
- The Thrashers could be closing in on a deal with the Canadiens for W Marian Hossa, which would cross the former Senator off the wishlist. There are other options for Ottawa, including Edmonton C Jarrett Stoll, Pittsburgh W Ryan Malone, Tampa W Vaclav Prospal and Phoenix W Radim Vrbata.
On defence, the options are limited with so many teams in the playoff hunt:
- The Sabres are getting ready to move Brian Campbell, while the Lightning has to make a decision on Dan Boyle. The Blues are trying to re-sign Bryce Salvador and Barret Jackman, but if they fail to reach new deals, they could both be dealt.
WAITING ON PETER
Before the Senators make a deal for a forward, they want to see what happens with free-agent C Peter Forsberg, who continues to skate in Sweden and has now said he'll wait until Monday before making a decision on his future. The Flyers and Avalanche are considered the front-runner, but the Senators are still in the running, as are the Ducks and Canucks. Oddly, the Blackhawks haven't been ruled out, either. Forsberg wants a strong chance to win a Stanley Cup and is determined to make the right decision. Ideally, everybody just wants Forsberg to make a decision.
TAKING A STEP FORWARD
While G Martin Gerber started last night against the Devils, Ottawa coach John Paddock wasn't blaming G Ray Emery for Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Sabres. "I thought (Emery) was our best player," Paddock said yesterday. "(The Sabres) didn't have as many chances as their (39) shots indicated, but they had far more chances than us. I thought he was fine. He's taken a step forward, but with back-to-back games, it's a great opportunity to let (Gerber) play." Paddock said Emery has been working harder with goalie coach Eli Wilson.
The talk is Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is itching to make a deal after Murray made his trade. New Jersey has about $3.6 million US to spend. While Fs Brad Richards, Olli Jokinen and Ladislav Nagy were mentioned by the New York Post, one of the most interesting names on the list is Chicago RW Martin Havlat, who is a close friend of Devils W Patrick Elias. Havlat, who will be a UFA in July 2009, hasn't been seeing eye-to-eye with Chicago coach Denis Savard and if Elias has Lamoriello's ear, he'll be pushing for the club to add Havlat.
OFF THE GLASS
Paddock said he'd like to see W Antoine Vermette and C Chris Kelly step up their play. Neither has been performing up to their capabilities lately and there's a possibility both could be on the move at the deadline. "For sure, there has to be more and I'm not just talking about production," said Paddock. "There has to be a level of play, consistency and work. There is a level of expectancy that they have produced. They can be two of the better third-line players in the game and that's where they are situated on this team. That needs to be reached, but we need everybody filling their roles to be successful." ... In the wake of the Richard Zednik incident, Devils coach Brent Sutter believes that neck guards will become mandatory ... Buffalo GM Darcy Regier sat down with Campbell's agent Larry Kelly in Ottawa before Tuesday's game at Scotiabank Place. Neither side is confident a deal is going to get done ... Lots more talk that Jokinen is going to get moved by the deadline. Panthers GM Jacques Martin will likely be fielding plenty of offers in Naples.