-Ottawa faces Toronto (14-9-0) this evening; the Leafs are lead by Nazem Kadri (23 points) and backstopped by James Reimer (8-3-0 2.43 .923). Both Milan Michalek and Mark Stone are expected to play with Ben Bishop getting the start; with two forwards inserted in the lineup other players will have to sit–no word on who that is yet.
–Nichols puts on his translation hat (or Google’s translation hat) to comb through Sylvain St-Laurent’s interview with Bryan Murray:
I think what I have to look at is where we are at that point. So we have to wait roughly another month to really see if this team is going to contend. Are we getting a number of the injured players back? And are they healthy? And are they able to play at a good level because of missing a number of games? I think when you evaluate all of that, we can make the call that says, ‘Do we add and pay a price – a future price – to give ourselves a real good shot at playoff time? Or do we continue to show patience and because we don’t have a couple of key guys playing, do we just wait and hopefully, as we look past that, look at the bigger picture? I have a variety of thoughts on what I would like to do. The one thing that I have maintained all along though is that we’re not likely going to trade a top young prospect at this point to get a veteran player for a playoff run. If we got a player back that was mid-twenties or late-twenties for a younger player and that player would be with us for a year or two beyond, that’s a different discussion. But, I haven’t got that name yet or that situation cropping up yet.
This sentiment on trades isn’t new from Murray since the rebuild, but it’s a change from his philosophy when he became Ottawa’s GM (such as trading for players like Martin Lapointe). It’s a change that makes sense and I wholeheartedly agree with it.
I had, at times, a better team in Washington, but you have to have quality goaltending. You have to have guys that give you a chance to win. We have three people that can do that at this point in time. Is it too many? Well, one is a two-way contract and a young player, and it will sort itself out. Whether I have to trade one of them eventually to make sure the other two get lots of game time or whatever, that will have to be, again, a decision (I make). But, at this point, I’m very happy that we have the three. We talked about moving one early in the year and now, we have an injury and we have an adequate second guy every game to play, if necessary. So, I just want to be very careful. Like, I’m the fans would applaud if we can win because of goaltending, I’m happy to (satisfy) that.
Goaltending is the only reason the team is still competitive and there’s no rush to make a player move, although it seems a foregone conclusion that ultimately Ben Bishop will be traded.
–Adrian Dater‘s power rankings have Ottawa 11th.
–The Raaymaker indulges in fantasy Ottawa trade speculation with two absurd suggestions and two possible trades that seem pretty pointless to me–but for fans of this kind of thing check it out and form your own opinion.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)
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