NHL Trade Rumors: Senators Looking to Bolster Blueline Before the Trade Deadline

Chris BouthillierSenior Analyst IMarch 1, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 19:  Dennis Seidenberg #84 of Germany looks on during the ice hockey men's preliminary game between Finland and Germany on day 8 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 19, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators are looking to start up from where they left off as the NHL resumes its schedule following the Olympic break. Their next contest will take place Tuesday night as they take on the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Place.

After an action-packed Olympic Games that featured Canada downing the United States on Sidney Crosby's overtime goal, it's back to business for Cory Clouston and his squad. The Senators even featured five players in the two week tournament, with forward Jarkko Ruutu helping Finland take home a bronze medal.

As we brace ourselves for the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday, we can't help but speculate what may or may not happen in the coming days. One would expect a flurry of deals after a 14 day roster freeze, while others believe the bulk of the deals have already occurred before the Olympic break.

In Ottawa, Bryan Murray has indicated that his team isn't done dealing. The Sens GM has already acquired veteran forward Matt Cullen from the Carolina Hurricanes before the freeze, giving up defenseman Alexandre Picard and a second-round pick in the 2010 entry draft.

Trading for Cullen was a great move which gave Ottawa a natural centreman whose versatility allows him to play all three forward positions well. He has the ability to quarterback a powerplay and is also a reliable penalty-killer. At the same time, Ottawa lost a depth defenseman, just as another two of their top six were listed on the injured reserve (Erik Karlsson and Chris Campoli).

Karlsson is expected to be in the lineup against the Rangers, but Campoli is expected to be out another three weeks. The team has recalled defenseman Brian Lee from Binghamton of the AHL and has been practicing with the big club for the last week.

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If the Senators are trying to hold their grip on the Northeast Division lead heading for the playoffs, they'll try to add whoever they can get their hands on to keep their defense as strong as possible.

The two names that have been mentioned in trade talks in Ottawa are Dennis Seidenberg of the Florida Panthers and Milan Jurcina of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Seidenberg, 28, logged over 22 minutes a game for Team Germany at the Olympics, picking up one goal in four games. In 61 games with the Florida Panthers this season, he has two goals and 22 points while sporting a minus-1 rating. Randy Sexton, general manager of the Panthers, has already went public by stating that nobody on his roster is untouchable.

According to a report from the Columbus Dispatch ,  the Blue Jackets have been receiving a lot of interest for Jurcina, who has already been traded this year from the Washington Capitals. Jurcina has seven points in 44 games between the Capitals and Blue Jackets and averaged nearly 17 minutes per game helping Slovakia to their best finish in men's hockey at fourth place.

The question remains to be whether or not either of these players would be an upgrade over their current blueliners.

Karlsson struggled early but has been performing well during the Sens recent run. Though an injury has hampered Campoli, who was acquired before last season's deadline, he has been rather inconsistent and was a healthy scratch in several games during the current campaign.

The Dispatch also made note that Jurcina would be expendable if they were to acquire a mid-round pick. He has a current cap hit of $748,000 and is an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season.

In the same breath, Florida's Jordan Leopold was traded to Pittsburgh this morning for a second-round selection. Seidenberg has posted more points than Leopold has, meaning they could be looking for a higher return if a deal was to be made.

Seidenberg is also a UFA after this season.

There's always the possibility of Murray contacting other teams to inquire about other defensemen, but these two players could be the safest bet in terms of what assets he would have to give up.

Only time (all 48 hours of it, by now) will tell what happens. With so many teams in potential playoff races, few teams have labelled themselves as sellers. Given the recent success of the Senators, they're far from that point.

Expect at least one more deal to help propel the Sens into a top four seed with home-ice advantage as we gear towards the playoffs.

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