Bryan Murray is a hockey guy, but he knows a little about economics, too.
So when the Senators GM was asked Sunday about his bid to acquire a defenceman before Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, he said it all comes down to supply and demand.
“Part of the problem is there’s not a lot of teams eliminated (from playoff contention) right now,” said Murray. “It sounds like, from talking to teams, that some of them are like us and they’re trying to add the same type of player.
“I don’t know whether I can get something going or not because teams are just going to drive up the price. At least teams are talking. I’m sure there will be some movement come Monday.”
Murray said during Sunday’s practice at Scotiabank Place that he’s spoken to 12 or 13 teams about making a deal and expects talks to heat up now that the Olympic trade freeze has been lifted.
The veteran GM would love to acquire a puck-moving blueliner, or at least an experienced player who can add a veteran presence to the dressing room for the playoff run.
“Some of the guys that I’ve spoken with, I don’t know all the defencemen, but I do know the personalities of a couple of them and I just want to get a good guy if I can,” he said.
“He doesn’t have to come in here and be a star. I want him to be able to come in here and play some games for us. I just don’t want a guy who is going to come and rock the boat.”
High on Ottawa’s wish list is Edmonton’s Ladislav Smid, whom Murray tried to land as part of a deal for Dany Heatley that fell through last summer. But Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is reluctant to deal the Czech veteran, who earns a very reasonable salary of $1.4 million (all terms US).
Murray has also shown interest in Carolina veteran Aaron Ward, who grew up in Ottawa. Another player with local ties who has been mentioned in trade rumours is Tampa defenceman Kurtis Foster, a Carp native. The 28-year-old makes just $600,000, is set to be a UFA on July 1 and likely isn’t going to re-sign with the Bolts. He has seven goals and 21 assists in 51 games this season.
Despite his push to beef up the Senators’ blue line, Murray said he doesn’t feel he absolutely has to make a deal. The Senators acquired centre Matt Cullen from Carolina before the Olympic break, and the GM likes the look of his team now.
“Getting Matt was good for us. If we had one more guy for depth, that would help,” said Murray. “The year we went to the finals in Anaheim (when Murray was the Ducks’ GM in 2003), we did two, what we thought, were minor things at the time by bringing in Rob Niedermayer and Steve Thomas.
“They became very important players on our team. I knew we were a good team, but I didn’t anticipate we’d go to the finals. I made those moves because I wanted to send a message to our room, which is what I was trying to do when we got Matt Cullen.
“The message is: ‘Fellas, we really want to give you a chance to win.’ We want to do everything we can to help you.’ Sometimes you don’t get guys that are better than what you have in your organization.”