Reports are circulating that the Ottawa Senators are in hot pursuit of disgruntled Florida defenceman Jay Bouwmeester. However, as history has shown, simply putting together the best package is not enough for Jacques Martin.
In his tireless quest to find the Sens their elusive PMD (puck-moving defenceman), Brian Murray has apparently set his sights on J-Bo, who refuses to sign a contract extension but really just desperately wants out of the hockey purgatory that is Florida.
The package reportedly being offered includes perennial Martin favourite Antoine Vermette, either swingman Christoph Schubert or young defenceman Brian Lee, and possibly the first round pick acquired from the Lightning in the Meszaros deal. (The pick actually belongs to San Jose.)
But as we have seen in the past, offering up fair compensation in a trade is not good enough to consummate a deal between Ottawa and Florida.
No, it seems that Jacques Martin has an ugly grudge against his old team—the team that gave him his big break in the NHL, the team that stuck with him long after many other organizations would have cut him loose over repeated playoff failures, and the team that helped him win a Jack Adams trophy.
Apparently Martin thinks that he deserved more than nine seasons, six first round playoff losses, and four playoff humiliations at the hands of the Leafs. He feels he was somehow shortchanged.
Over the years the trade rumours between Ottawa and Florida have been frequent. Luongo, Jokinen, Nieuwendyk, and of course Roberts have all at one point been on the radar, but never has a trade been consummated.
Back during the Luongo sweepstakes, it was confirmed that Ottawa GM John Muckler offered up Martin Havlat, Ray Emery, and Chris Phillips in a package, far superior to the bundle accepted from Vancouver of Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, and Alex Auld, of whom only Allen still remains.
While Martin was not GM at the time, clearly his power play to take over the position had already begun, and his approval was required, as Mike Keenan would resign as GM only three months after completing the deal.
So the question Florida fans have to ask themselves, if there are enough of them out there to care, is this: Is the Panthers GM doing what is best for his team or pursuing his own selfish interests?
At what point does Martin's grudge over his justifiable dismissal from the Sens become a hindrance to his current job? Or has it already?