Fit to be Ty-ed?

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

ATLANTA -- The Senators added at the NHL trade deadline yesterday without subtracting. Now Senators coach Bryan Murray can multiply the possibilities with skilled centre Tyler Arnason joining the Senators mix, likely in time for tonight's game against the Thrashers.

Arnason, who turns 27 next week, was obtained from the Chicago Blackhawks in return for winger Brandon Bochenski and a second-round draft pick in this summer's NHL draft.

Senators GM John Muckler made the move without touching the Senators' current roster and also added goaltender Mike Morrison from the Edmonton Oilers on waivers, giving them more experience with Dominik Hasek out indefinitely with an adductor muscle strain.

Muckler's previous deadline moves have pretty much been ineffectual. There are no guarantees with any deal and the Senators will have to hope Arnason will arrive ready to maximize a talent previous coaches feel hasn't been fully exploited.

The move to a contending team might be what Arnason needs to boost his career. A former AHL rookie of the year and named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 2002-03, there's no question Arnason has talent.

Getting the most out of it has been the issue.

Arnason frustrated former Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter to the point Sutter got into a well-publicized physical confrontation with Arnason at a Nashville bar near the end of the 2003-04 season.

"I might have poked him or something," said Sutter at the time, "but it wasn't unlike 101 other conversations I've had with him. We talked about him being a better player, a better teammate."

HEALTHY SCRATCH

Arnason was a healthy scratch for one game last month with the 'Hawks when coach Trent Yawney felt he wasn't getting enough out of his talent.

"He's been given enough rope to show us what he can do," Yawney said at the time. "He's played with players he wants to play with. He's played every power play and every offensive situation, and his play isn't at the level I think it should be."

Said Arnason after that: "They want me to play better, so I guess I have to try harder."

Murray knows of Arnason's reputation as an underachiever.

"He hasn't run into me yet," chuckled Murray.

"Any time a coach sees a player who has lots of potential in his mind and he doesn't get to the level the coach believes he should get to, you have concern. Over the years, you always have players like that.

"I haven't met the young man. He's always been a pretty good hockey player. Very definitely with Brian Sutter he had a real incident and with Trent this year, same thing, just wishing players like Tyler had played better at certain stages of the game.

"We all have those things with certain players. There are nights here I'm frustrated with some people, too, really frustrated. Until he does it to me, he's going to get a chance to come in here and play.

"Until he does anything here that makes us feel he's not playing as hard as he should play, I'm going to give him all the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity ... He'll come in, I believe, highly motivated."

SECOND CENTRE

Arnason will likely slot into the Senators' second centre spot. When Martin Havlat comes off the injured list, Arnason will likely be between him and Bryan Smolinski, shifted to left wing from centre.

The Spizza Line and the Peter Schaefer-Mike Fisher-Chris Neil line would likely stay intact, leaving a fourth line with Antoine Vermette, Chris Kelly and one of the following: Vaclav Varada, Patrick Eaves or Brian McGrattan.

One of Muckler's other goals was to add a depth defenceman and he kind of did that with the Arnason deal. Adding a forward means there will be enough depth there to allow Christoph Schubert to go back to the blue line, though he has been one of the Senators' better forwards lately.

It all adds up to not-a -bad day's work for Muckler. Now it's up to Arnason and time to decide how this deal will be remembered.


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