Now that the Senators have formally announced that they have sent defenceman Matt Carkner to Binghamton for a conditioning stint, with his return looking imminent, the Senators now have up to two weeks to resolve the number of bodies that they will have on the blueline.
According to article 13.8 of the NHL’s CBA,
Unless a player consents, he shall not be sent to a minor league club for conditioning reasons. Nor shall such conditioning extend for more than 14 consecutive days without the player’s consent. The player shall continue, during such period or mutually agreed to extension of such period, to receive the same salary, and be entitled to the same benefits, that he would have received had he continued to play with the Club.
In other words, barring Filip Kuba being out for an extended period of time with that upper body injury of his or another Senators defenceman getting injured, the odds of the Senators making a move to accommodate Carkner have just gone up.
So who goes?
Considering his two-way contract, David Rundblad is the easiest one to send down and it can be done without having to expose any of the team’s veterans to the trade market or (gasp) waivers. Personally, I can’t envision a scenario in which the Senators prefer to trade a defenceman like Carkner, Kuba or Gonchar now when the markets for these players could be substantially better as we approach the NHL Trade Deadline.
Of course if the Senators have to move a veteran, Brian Lee’s name will inevitably be drawn into the conversation. Frankly, I’m not sure why the Senators would bother to trade Lee now. If you’re led to believe that the organization will eventually deal some of its reputable defencemen, they’ll need to be replaced by someone who can step in right away play at the NHL level.
With the exception of perhaps Mark Borowiecki, there’s no one down in Binghamton who is on the cusp of playing in the NHL. (Sorry Patrick Wiercioch.)
Senators Interested in Derick Brassard?
In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, the Columbus forward’s agent, the ever-affable Allan Walsh, tore a strip off of Blue Jackets’ head coach Scott Arniel in a statement that was published by the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.
“While I have tremendous respect for (general manager) Scott Howson and the rest of Columbus’ management team, the situation regarding Derick Brassard has become untenable. The coach has a history of burying players and using them as scapegoats to mask his own lack of success on the ice. Derick has been singled out, almost from the very beginning of the season, to be the fall guy in case things don’t go well. The Columbus organization cares about Derick and has been good to him, but at some point, one has to say, enough is enough.”
Thanks to Walsh, this message helped kick-start some discussion about viable trade destinations for Brassard and lo and behold, the Ottawa Senators came up.
From HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC)
From what I understand, Brassard will not be leaving the team. Jackets have tried hard to trade him (OTT interested). Awaiting CLB reax.
Much like the Bobby Ryan or Kyle Turris trade fodder, it would be more shocking to learn that the Senators, a team that could use more skill in their top six, hadn’t kicked the tires on what it would take to get Brassard out of Columbus.
Brassard, who was born in Hull, was the sixth overall selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and has seen his point totals progressively go up since entering the league during the 2007-08 season.
It’s bizarre. For a second there, it actually looked like a prospect other than Rick Nash was making strides with the organization. Alas, it looks as though that was shortlived. For whatever reason, his production has slipped this season and he’s had to watch some games from the pressbox of late. Walsh can bitch and bemoan the lack of opportunity for Brassard, however, the fact remains that of the 200 minutes that Brassard has played at even strength this season, 37-percent of that time has come playing alongside Rick Nash. According to Behind the Net, Brassard’s other top two linemates have Vinny Prospal (31.9%) and R.J. Umberger (23.1%). He has seen some extensive time on the fourth line with the likes of Aaron Johnson (22.6%) and Derek Mackenzie (21.4%) but that’s to be expected when you only put up 2 goals, 4 points and a plus/minus rating of -11.
Last season, Brassard put up career numbers but he played 60-percent of his even-strength ice-time alongside Nash and 78-percent of it with Jakub Voracek. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Voracek took a step back last season and was dealt in the offseason or that Nash saw his numbers drop for a second consecutive season.
While it’s true that the entire Blue Jackets team has struggled this season, the combination of Brassard’s big cap hit ($3.25 million cap hit through the 2013-14 season) and the regression of Brassard and his linemates’ statistics gives me cause for concern. Judging by Ottawa’s perceived interest and the fact that the deal hasn’t been made, the asking price for Brassard is obviously too high. Good on Bryan Murray for not meeting it.