Sens looking for D deal

Sens forward Alex Kovalev smiles as he takes a break from practice on Wednesday. (QMI Agency/Errol...

Sens forward Alex Kovalev smiles as he takes a break from practice on Wednesday. (QMI Agency/Errol McGihon)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

While the March 3 trade deadline is looming, NHL GMs aren’t exactly burning up the phone lines.

Since the NHL’s two-week break for the Vancouver Olympics doesn’t officially end until Monday, many league executives are finding it difficult to wheel and deal.

“I’d say there’s a lack of urgency at the moment to make a trade,” a league executive said Wednesday. “That might change as the weekend approaches and players start coming back from the Olympics. Most (GMs) took last week off and they’re getting back at it.

“Part of the issue is there just aren’t that many teams selling. A lot of teams are still in the race and aren’t going to unload any free agents. You have a boatload of buyers and only about five teams selling. You have to think it’s going to pick up here.”

Senators GM Bryan Murray plans to go to shopping before the deadline to add one more piece to the puzzle.

While defenceman Erik Karlsson should be ready to return from a shoulder injury in Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Place, it’s believed Murray would like to add another defenceman.

Karlsson skated before practice Wednesday with assistant coach Luke Richardson. He is expected to join the team Thursday or Friday. The club will likely recall Brian Lee from its AHL affiliate in Binghamton in the next day or two because he’ll be needed when the season resumes.

Defenceman Chris Campoli is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

With the Senators in the market for a blueliner, there are a few options:

* The most obvious choice is Carolina defenceman Aaron Ward. Ottawa considered picking him up on waivers earlier this season, but couldn’t swallow his $2.5-million (all terms US) contract. He has playoff experience and will likely be dealt for a late-round pick.

The decision to send Jonathan Cheechoo and his $3.5-million cap hit to Binghamton has freed up money for Murray to spend.

“Ward hasn’t had a great year, but he would help (the Senators),” said one league executive. “He’d be a good guy for them to have around the room and he’d probably jump at the chance to play in Ottawa.”

* There’s a lot of talk the Thrashers are going to move D Pavel Kubina. Making $5 million, he will be a UFA after the season. There will be a lot of teams interested.

* The Islanders are willing to move D Andy Sutton. The 34-year-old has a $2.9-million cap hit. He would be in a group of defencemen, along with Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis and Florida’s Dennis Seidenberg, the Senators would also have to look at.

“I would think what’s going to happen is you’re going to see a flurry of discussions on the weekend,” said another league executive. “That’s the way it usually happens. You go into the final weekend and that’s when teams get anxious to make deals.

“If you hadn’t had to pay players through the Olympics, then this may have happened earlier.”


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