Ottawa Senators Strengthen Blueline with Acquisition of Andy Sutton

David LawCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2010

UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 16: Andy Sutton #25 of the New York Islanders skates out to play against the Buffalo Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum on January 16, 2010 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Bryan Murray hopes he has added the final piece to the puzzle as he prepares the Ottawa Senators for a run at the Stanley Cup this season.

One day prior to the NHL trade deadline, Murray acquired reliable, stay-at-home defenseman Andy Sutton from the New York Islanders in exchange for a second round pick in the upcoming NHL entry draft.

This trade follows the acquisition of forward Matt Cullen from the Carolina Hurricanes prior to the Olympic roster freeze. It is unlikely that Murray will make any further moves.

The NHL trade deadline is 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Sutton is a solid defenseman who plays with a physical edge. He ranks 2nd in the NHL with 153 blocked shots, and is 22nd in hits, with 155. Sutton has four goals and eight assists this year with the Islanders. 

Sutton's physical play will be useful through the grind of an NHL playoff schedule. At 6' 6" and 245 pounds, Sutton has the size and strength to clear the crease in front of Ottawa's goaltenders. Following an up-and-down beginning to the season, the Senators have developed into one of the leagues hottest teams, and currently sit atop the Northeast Division. They are optimistic that they they can make a long run in this season's playoffs.

Sutton will not arrive in Ottawa on time to play against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. When he does step into the lineup, Sutton joins regulars Filip Kuba, Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov, Matt Carkner and rookie Erik Karlsson. Chris Campoli remains on the injured list. Brian Lee, who was called up to play against the Rangers, will probably return to Ottawa's minor league affiliate in Binghamton to make room for Sutton.

Sutton appears to be a good acquisition for Ottawa. He is sound defensively, excels at shot-blocking, and was leading the Islanders in hits. Sutton helps round out the defense and raises the team's physical presence.

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Additionally, Sutton may fit into Ottawa's long-term plans. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov is an unrestricted free agent this off-season, and he will likely garner some serious offers. If Ottawa cannot resign him, Volchenkov may too pricey to retain as a free agent. Sutton could possibly fill that void next season.

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