Senators GM sets sights on centre

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

ATLANTA — Senators GM Bryan Murray is looking to add a centre to help get the team out of its scoring doldrums.

As the Senators continue their five-game road trip tonight against the Thrashers and struggle to hang onto a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, two league executives told the Sun yesterday that Murray is trying to deal for a centre.

With top centre Jason Spezza sidelined three more weeks, Mike Fisher struggling and Peter Regin miscast as the No. 1 pivot at the moment, the indications are Murray would like somebody who can play in a top-six role and possibly move to the wing once Spezza returns.

The most consistent centre for the Senators this season has been Chris Kelly, who has looked quite comfortable in his third-line role.

Making a deal is tough with the salary cap, but talk has started to heat up.

“That’s easier said than done,” said one NHL executive. “There’s just not a lot out there right now. Not enough teams are eliminated.”

Murray is in Florida wrapping up meetings with his pro scouts before heading out to watch a few teams himself. The only teams actively selling — with the deadline set for March 3 — are the Oilers and Hurricanes.

It’s not known if there are any hard feelings with the Oilers after the Dany Heatley fiasco last summer, but it seems doubtful there would be.

The names being bandied about from Edmonton are centres Andrew Cogliano (4 goals and 6 assists in 44 games) and Robert Nilsson (6 goals and 8 assists in 29 games) and winger Ethan Moreau (4 goals and 4 assists in 43 games). All are affordable, but it would depend on what the Oilers want in return.

As for the Hurricanes, the best option for Ottawa might be veteran centre Matt Cullen (8 goals, 19 assists in 44 games), who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. A lot of teams are interested in veteran winger Ray Whitney (13 goals, 18 assists in 43 games), but he has a no-movement clause and he’s going to be able to pick his destination, likely to a contender.

Off the glass

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson (shoulder) and Spezza are going to join the team on its road trip Friday in Montreal. Don’t be surprised if Alfredsson suits up Monday against the Bruins ... Ranked 30th overall in the NHL on the power play, the Senators made changes yesterday, placing Fisher at the point. “I have to use my shot to get pucks to the net,” said Fisher. “(Rookie defenceman Erik Karlsson) seems to be getting more comfortable back there and he’s making some good plays. I just want to shoot the puck and be another option. That’s kind of my job.”


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