The hockey season has just started but it seems that before you know it, stockings will be on the mantle and children will be preparing wish lists to send to Santa up north. Bryan Murray, the General Manager for the Ottawa Senators, is far from a child but he has started preparing his wish list early. I am going to tell you what is on his list and if it isn't, it should be.
Murray has been saying since the beginning of the summer that he is in the market for a puck moving defenseman. That is certainly a need for the Senators but something that needs to be addressed first is their goaltending. I have said it before and I will say it again, Ottawa will not win the Stanley Cup with Martin Gerber in goal. Heck, they may not even make the post-season with him in net.
Gerber has never played a complete season as a starter and my bet is that he doesn't finish this season as a Senators let alone a starter. Gerber has been the poster-boy for inconsistency. Once again he has started this season letting in one weak goal after another. His teammates are saying the right things about their confidence in him and that he is a great goalie, but the simple truth is that he is an average goalie at best and really should be a back-up.
Nikolai Khabibulin in Chicago is available but the price tag is high on his final year of his contract. It is certain that this is his last year with the Blackhawks since they signed Cristobal Huet to a 4-year deal in the summer. Khabibulin was made available at the end of the summer but Murray was content to stay with Gerber. I think this is any option that should be looked into.
Another goalie in the West is Dwayne Roloson. He is also in the final year of his contract and is now the third goalie for the Edmonton Oilers. Right now, they are holding onto Roloson for insurance since this is Mathieu Garon's first season as a number one goalie and is backed up by a rookie.
There are other goalies in the league that are proven and struggling but it is highly unlikely that any deals that big could be made by the Sens. Turco and Luongo are two goalies that are currently struggling but they are too important to their teams to be traded so I believe my two suggestions would be a possible upgrade.
The next item on Murray's wish list is in fact a puck moving defenseman. I was happy to see Redden go and I certainly wouldn't ask for him back but I do see the need for a puck moving defenseman on the Sens' blue line. It seems that puck moving defensemen are as hard to come by as winning lottery tickets these days.
One defensemen who you will hear every team mention is Jay Bouwmeester in Florida. He is going to be an unrestricted free agent at season end and doesn't appear to be interested in re-signing with the Panthers. He would definitely be a great fit on any team but the Sens would have to give up a lot to get him so I don't know how likely it is to obtain him.
Another defenseman that has a lot of potential but isn't a local fan favorite here in Dallas is Trevor Daley. Daley is a young and talented defenseman. He has to work on his defensive game but has a good first pass ability and can quarterback a power play. I think pairing him with a defensive defenseman like Jason Smith would also help his defensive play.
Last but not least, is secondary scoring. This has been rubbed in the Senators' face for many years. Besides the "Pizza Line", they lack scoring depth. I think there is talent and potential in the lineup for secondary scoring but they aren't producing.
With the rumours coming out today that Mats Sundin is making strides towards his return, Murray's added him to his wish list. He would have to make some cap space to be able to fit him in but I think he would be a welcomed addition to help solve the secondary scoring. He would certainly look good centering Daniel Alfreddson on the second line.
Murray has the interesting job of playing both child and parent. Like a child, there are a lot of things that he wishes he had. The parent in him has to look at his budget and try to do a lot with a little. My concern is that if Ottawa continues down the path that they are on and nothing is done, Murray could end up watching the rest of the season from his living room rather than his box at Scotiabank Place.