Senators grab Gilroy for Lee

Brian Lee during practice in Ottawa, Ont., Nov. 3, 2011. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

Brian Lee during practice in Ottawa, Ont., Nov. 3, 2011. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:59 PM ET

OTTAWA - Bryan Murray had one last move up his sleeve.

The Senators GM swore he wasn’t going to be active before the NHL’s 3 p.m. trade deadline Monday, but that didn’t stop him from swinging his second deal in 24 hours by sending blueliner Brian Lee to Tampa for defenceman Matt Gilroy.

With a bit more than an hour before the dealing was shut down, Murray opened talks with Tampa GM Steve Yzerman on Gilroy and the Senators opted to pick up the strong-skating potential unrestricted free agent in exchange for Lee, who had struggled to fit in after being drafted ninth overall in 2005.

The deal came as a surprise, especially since the club went into the day looking for a depth forward and Ottawa had acquired goalie Ben Bishop from St. Louis only 24 hours earlier. Murray couldn’t pass up on this chance.

“We believe that (Gilroy) has very good mobility,” said Murray. “He’s going to push the pace and push the puck. We want to have our defence contribute a lot on the offensive side of the puck.

“That is a priority in our game today. The other thing it does is given Brian a chance to go to Tampa and, hopefully, be a regular defenceman. I know talking to Steve Yzerman they’re trying to make changes in that area as well.”

Lee, a potential restricted free agent making $925,000, played okay this season, but he’s never been spectactular. Gilroy has more offensive upside.

“It just didn’t work here for Lee. He was never a regular,” said Murray. “Brian thought he should have been that, but our coaching staff just felt he was one of those people who (was moved in and out) — because of maybe not giving the offensive contribution that some other person could give.

“In some games, we wanted to play Matt (Carkner) because of toughness and size and strength. Brian has taken some time to develop his body and develop his game. I hope, for his sake, that he gets a chance now to be a regular player.”

The Senators likely made a pitch for winger P.A. Parenteau — in a group of teams that spoke with Islanders GM Garth Snow. The Rangers, Bruins, Predators and Sharks all would have made calls.

Murray said the prices were high.

“We weren’t trying to do very much, but we were trying to do a couple of things and the (asking price) was so high that it didn’t make any sense to me,” said Murray. “I could have traded one or two of our young prospects and got a player for today. That wasn’t (going to happen).

“It’s hard to do (the price) on rental players, unless you’re a sure bet to be in the finals.”

Yzerman was happy to get Lee.

“It just seemed to make sense with us. We’re getting a younger player who has the chance to grow into an NHL regular,” said Yzerman. “He’s a pretty big body, he moves well out there and he’s still relatively young. We think he has very good potential.”


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