There’s been plenty of speculation about which of the Senators will be leaving town in the coming days. It’s a given that at least the expiring contracts – Phillips, Ruutu, Kovalev, Shannon – will be on their way out, even if it’s for late or conditional picks or, probably in Kovalev’s case, with some bad salary coming back the other way.
But for all the conventional wisdom about GMs hedging their bets, the first trade was for Mike Fisher, who has two years left on his deal. Toronto just traded Kris Versteeg to the Flyers, and Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim – all players with years left on their deals. This might signal a change in (at least this year’s) deadline strategy; if a valuable pick is being sacrificed, perhaps GMs are placing a greater emphasis on finding a player who acts as both a boost heading into the playoffs and addresses longer-standing gaps on the team.
Given the only untouchables are Karlsson and Alfredsson, and that even some of the Senators under contract or pending RFAs represent some value, I figured it pays to put ourselves in the other GMs’ shoes. If you were, say, Paul Homlgren of the Flyers, George McPhee of the Capitals, or Mike Gillis of the Canucks, who could you actually imagine giving up assets and moving salary around to add?
Personally, I’d go after Chris Kelly. A utility player who can play in any situation, is inexpensive, and contributes offensively. He’s just the kind of depth required for the stretch, and you don’t mind holding onto a contract like that for next season. He seems like the perfect bait for a second round pick.