“It’s a hard time of year because organizations have lots of young players that are going to be looked at,” said Murray. “Very definitely it’s going to be worth my while to make some calls and find out if there’s anybody that wants to give someone a chance.”
Murray didn’t name names, but it’s not hard to tell which players are on the bubble. Centre Chris Kelly, who would be difficult to deal with a $2.125-million US cap hit for the next three years, hasn’t performed up to expectations in camp and is feeling a lot of heat. ~ Bruce Garrioch, The Ottawa Sun
With yesterday's news that the Sens organization is toying with the idea of moving some underachieving incumbents, there's been some speculation as to who could be moved to facilitate the additions of Erik Karlsson and Peter Regin to Ottawa's 21-man opening day roster. After James Gordon posted today's practice lines on his Twitter, things have become a little bit clearer.
Michalek - Spezza - Alfredsson
Fisher - Regin - Kovalev
Foligno - Shannon - Cheechoo
Ruutu - Kelly - Neil
Schubert - Z. Smith - Donovan
Phillips - Volchenkov
Kuba - Karlsson
Picard - Campoli
Carkner - Lee
Even though he's listed as the fourth line center and carries a large pricetag, there's been an outpouring of support for giving Chris Kelly a stay of execution.
So while you're drooling that Matt Carkner (why did I not hear of this amazing talent before this season?!) may take the place of Chris "heart and soul" Kelly and his $2.1 million contract, try to remember why he was offered that contract. Kelly is an excellent penalty killer, an occasional scorer, and a solid defensive forward.
I'm not sure exactly what kind of return you're expecting to get for the likes of Christoph Schubert and Chris Kelly, but it's a fact that 4th round picks can't kill penalties or score goals. Hell, even Carkner probably won't.
So before you go throwing the baby out with the bathwater, try to remember that baby is pretty good at hockey. And your bathwater is inexperienced at penalty killing at an NHL level. ~ Ben, Sens Army
And there's this:
So now all remains is my fear of moving players before the season begins. I’ve now heard names like Chris Kelly, Jarkko Rutuu and Chris Neil all being tossed about to make room for the younger players. And while I have no problem making a trade, I would hate to see something done too prematurely just because a preseason player has impressed. Regin may not live up to the lofty expectations we are now setting for him, and he may become the next Brian Lee. It was only two seasons ago that Murray said Brian Lee was an NHL defencemen from now on, only to have him play half the season last year in Binghamton.
The bottom line is this: I think Peter Regin deserves a spot on this team. I think he should get one starting on October 3. But I think a few healthy scratches might be in order before we start shipping guys off. ~ Tambland, Stayclassy.net
When I think about it, maybe I am guilty of undervaluing the utility of a player who, at his best, is only a third line center and penalty killer.
While it's straight up silly to suggest that Matt Carkner's pugilism can replace Kelly's intangibles, it's also implausible to believe that Peter Regin's addition to the roster should necessitate the trade of number twenty-two.
Tambland put it best when he mentioned that it's important to temper any offensive expectations for Peter Regin. The first strike against him is that he's playing on a line with Mike Fisher. Strike two is that he's a Danish prettyboy. How often do Danish prettyboys pan out in the NHL? Almost never. Give me that good toothless Canadian boy any day of the week, eh. Besides it's not like his vision, speed and willingness to play both sides of the puck are skills that he can fall back on if he's not producing. Third, Regin's a John Muckler draft pick. How's that for a kiss of death?
That's why we have to keep Chris Kelly. At a $2.1M cap hit for the next three years, we're guaranteed that the Senators' penalty killing savant can anchor aunit that was blatantly average last year - it finished 15th overall in penalty killing efficiency at 81.5%. Besides, it's naive to assume that Kelly's role can be filled by Milan Michalek, a speedy puck pursuer who contributed to the 5th rank PK unit in San Jose. And it's equally as unimportant that the goaltending position has been significantly upgraded with Pascal Leclaire.
Okay, so I'm being a bit facetious with my comments.
Ben's right when he says that third or fourth round picks won't produce numbers like Kelly this year. But honestly, if he's spending the year being buried on the fourth line with Neil and Ruutu, the production from an undrafted player might not be far off from what Kelly's. If Kelly can be moved now for a pick, it's a good salary dump. By being pressed up against the cap ceiling, the Senators can ill afford to waste their cap dollars on a replaceable player. Especially when the financial flexibility created by trading Kelly can be used to add a legitimate second line center if Regin's offensive numbers aren't flattering.
Cowen Teases Murray:
Murray said it was difficult to send D Jared Cowen, the club’s No. 1 pick in 2009, back to the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs following the game in Regina.
“I can just envision him in November being able to play at a very good level in this league,” said Murray. “He was a tough one for me because I really like young players that step up the way he did. In the long run, it’s probably better for him.”
Everyone can blame Cowen's knee injury for the reason for his demotion, however, it's important to bear in mind that it's easy to forget that it was also a blessing in disguise. Had Cowen stayed healthy last season, there's absolutely no way he would have slid to the Senators at the 9th overall position.
The Ottawa Citizen helped shed more light on Cowen's return back to junior.
"To me, (the decision) was really hard because I can just envision him in November, being able to play at a very good level in this league, but, long-term, it was the thing to do."
Now, if Murray was flirting with the idea of keeping Cowen and Karlsson, what kind of condemnation is this for the guys currently slotted in the bottom pairings on defense?