Ottawa Senators looking for strong young player, high draft pick in exchange for goalie
Ottawa Senators General Manager Bryan Murray speaks to the media during a press conference at the Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa Wednesday, April 29, 2015. (Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun)
The Senators will spend this week sizing up the landscape on the NHL's trade market.
Then, GM Bryan Murray will get back to working the phones.
As the Stanley Cup final heats up with Game 4 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Hawks Wednesday night at the United Center, Murray, assistant GM's Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee along with director of pro scouting Jim Clarke and the staff are working in the bowels of the Canadian Tire Centre identifying who wants to play Let's Make a Deal.
Murray isn't feeling any heat to make a trade with either goaltender Robin Lehner, 23, or veteran Craig Anderson, 34, before the NHL entry draft is held June 26-27 in Fort Lauderdale, but the Senators would like to strike while the iron is hot and six or seven teams have called the club to express interest in both guys.
There is more interest in Lehner than Anderson and, let's face it, the Senators are going to get more in return for a young player who has upside potential than they would for a veteran who has three years left on his deal.
Sources say Murray would like a young player who has the potential to be top six forward and a high draft pick in return.
"That could be tough," a league executive said Tuesday. "When you make goalie trades do you actually get full value?"
And, that's what Murray and his staff are wrestling with right now as they prepare to tell the likes of the Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames to make their best offers for Lehner while it's believed the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues have both kicked tires on what it would take to get Anderson.
Lehner has returned to Sweden and has resumed working out after a concussion ended his season in mid-February. He stayed in Ottawa after the season to get the go-ahead before going back overseas.
"He was cleared before he left," said Lehner's Toronto-based agent Craig Oster of Newport Sports. "He wanted to feel good before he left. When he got back home, he's pretty much been training with no restrictions. He's not at the point where's he on the ice taking shots or anything but I don't think there's any restriction to him doing that.
"He doesn't do that at this time. He's back working out and doing what he'd normally do."
The Senators faced a similar situation during the lockout-shortened season in 2013 when they had Ben Bishop, Anderson and Lehner in the fold. He was dealt to the Lightning in exchange for Cory Conacher and a fourth-round pick (used to get prospect Tobias Lindberg) and the Oilers were the only other team remotely interested in Bishop.
With three goalies under contract -- Anderson, Lehner and the recently signed Andrew Hammond -- the Senators are dealing from a position of strength because they've got depth at the position. None of the trio has demanded a trade, but Murray would like to get this dealt with before free agency begins and teams can go to the market for free.
Plus, they aren't the only team trying to move a goaltender. It's believed New York Rangers GM Glen Sather has held discussions with more than one team about backup Cam Talbot. You have to think the Oilers and Sabres have both sniffed around there as well while Vancouver is willing to move goalie Eddie Lack with Jacob Markstrom ready to play.
Ideally, the Senators want this trade done before the whole situation becomes a distraction. Murray noted last week they could bring all three to training camp in September if they don't get what they want in return but the reality is nobody wants that because it could hurt the preparation in training camp and the pre-season.
"It's going to be a distraction (if a trade isn't made) and it's going to be the talk all of camp (if they go with three). You kind of want to deal with it, get some closure and move on," said the executive. "You can say, 'These are the two guys we're going to go with and let's get ready for opening night.'"
That's why these pro scouting meetings this week are important for the Senators.
After spending the winter looking at every player at every level, the Senators will have a better idea who might be available and what they might want to ask for in return for either of their goalies now that they've sat down as a group. The Senators may try to include either winger Colin Greening or veteran David Legwand in this trade.
During a press conference last week, Murray felt a week before the draft he should have a good idea what everybody's best offer is going to be. That doesn't mean he can't ask for more or try to get them to sweeten the pot so the club can get what it wants in return in what will be one of the summer's most important moves.