Sens welcome back Comrie

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:44 PM ET

In January 2007, former Senators GM John Muckler got the trading season started by dealing for centre Mike Comrie from the Coyotes.

Yesterday, Senators GM Bryan Murray got the trading season started -- albeit considerably later -- by dealing for Comrie, this time from the Islanders.

Less than two weeks before the March 4 trade deadline, Murray brought back Comrie for a second tour of duty and defenceman Chris Campoli from the Islanders in exchange for veteran centre Dean McAmmond and San Jose's No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft.

While Murray is hopeful he'll be able to re-sign the 28-year-old Comrie before he can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, Campoli, 24, who will make $675,000 (all terms US) next season, is the key to the deal because he could be the puck-moving defenceman the club has been looking for all season.

Both players will be in the lineup today against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

"We've scored 141 goals this year and we haven't been a very good offensive team," said Murray. "We're getting two guys that have ability. Mike Comrie showed he could score goals the last time he was here. He played with Mike Fisher the last time he was here, but that will be up to (coach) Cory (Clouston) and (Comrie's) a second-line player at the worst.

"Campoli is the kind of guy that's going to be able to get the puck up to the forwards. I've been watching for a while and our scouts like him. He's young and he helps this year and he's certainly going to help us going forward. I feel this addresses one of our big needs."

Campoli, a former member of the OHL's Erie Otters and a seventh-round pick (No. 227) of the Isles in 2004, said he was pleased with the move. The word out of the Long Island is he may not have been happy with coach Scott Gordon and asked to be traded.

"I'm excited. (The Senators are) a good hockey team and they're a team that wants to make a push for the playoffs," said Campoli, who had six goals and 11 assists in 51 games with the Islanders this season but sported an alarming minus-20 rating. "Hockey is such a big sport up there. Being there with (Comrie) as well, hopefully, we can help put them over the edge to get them (in the playoffs).

"I think they're highly skilled team. I think they've underachieved. They're a good team. They've got a lot of potential. It's going to be a big challenge."

When Comrie was dealt to Ottawa in 2007 (for the long-forgotten Alexei Kaigorodov), he helped the club reach the Stanley Cup final.

"I played in Ottawa before. I know what's at stake and what it's like," said Comrie, who had seven goals and 13 assists in 41 games this season with New York. "They've got a great group of guys and I'm thrilled about the opportunity to play with the Senators again. They've got a lot of great players. (Campoli and him) will do our best to fit in.

"We know how close the standings are and that every game is important. We're both excited. It hasn't been the greatest season for our team, but I'm excited about coming to Ottawa and hopefully we can have success like we did when I was there before."

McAmmond, who had three goals and four assists in 44 games for the Senators this season, was unavailable for comment.

The first-round pick the Senators dealt to the Islanders was acquired from the Lightning as part of the Andrej Meszaros deal.

Tampa had originally acquired the pick from the Sharks in the Dan Boyle trade.

Murray isn't likely done dealing. The Senators still have to deal with potential UFAs Chris Neil and Filip Kuba. Neither is close to a new contract and the belief is Murray will trade them if they don't sign deals.

It's believed the Sharks are ready to make a trade for Neil if he's healthy before the deadline. Neil hasn't played since suffering a lacerated calf on Feb. 7 vs. Buffalo.

Murray said it's tough to make trades.

"I talked to (Islanders GM) Garth Snow a great deal over the last month or so," said Murray. "There was a lot of factors involved: How the teams were performing. I didn't think it would take this long, but at least we were able to get one deal done."

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RATING THE TRADE

THE DEAL: The San Jose Sharks' No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Andrej Meszaros deal last fall and C Dean McAmmond to the Islanders for C Mike Comrie and D Chris Campoli.

WHAT WE THINK: McAmmond was playing a limited role and wouldn't have been back next year. Campoli is the centrepiece of this deal as long as he lives up to his potential by becoming the puck-mover Ottawa wants. The Senators have had Comrie before. They know what he can do and there's a chance he might stay here next year.

OUR RATING: We give it the thumbs up.


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