This afternoon the Ottawa Senators have acquired Matt Cullen from the Carolina Hurricanes for Alexandre Picard and a second round pick. Even though this year’s draft class has been regarded as being shallow, it should be noted that Ottawa has apparently given up their second rounder and not the second rounder that was dealt to them in the Dany Heatley trade.
Bruce Garrioch broke down the trade talks via Twitter: Matt Cullen to Ottawa. I knew they had offered a second. Carolina wanted the young player Picard added.
As an impending unrestricted free agent, Cullen’s an intriguing fit. Simply put, he’s a 40-50 point player who plays a strong two-way game and who can man the point on the power play. I know I’ve shat on John Muckler’s deadline acquisitions that have seen him peddle second rounders but I feel like this trade is different. Senators fans will never have to fear Picard turning into some revelation like Brooks Laich has been in Washington. And if the draft class is as shallow as it allegedly is, I don’t have a problem with the move since Ottawa still has a first and second rounder this summer.
After being victimized by Alexander Semin’s line for three goals last night, I don’t know if Jim Rutherford knows what he’s doing moving by Picard into the Southeast Division but at least it’s a problem that Senators fans no longer have to worry about. Instead, Senators fans can worry about things like adding Chris Campoli to Erik Karlsson on the team’s wounded blueline. Don Brennan revealed that Campoli will be out upwards of a month with a lower body injury. To compensate for the loss of Picard and Campoli, Bryan Murray has recalled defencemen Brian Lee and Derek Smith from Binghamton. To accomodate Cullen’s $2.875M salary, Smith’s $600k salary and Lee’s $1.275M cap hit, Bryan Murray had to pull the trigger on another move.
To make some fiscal sense of today’s moves, Jonathan Cheechoo on waivers. In doing so, management is hoping that another team will pick up Cheechoo’s remaining salary at no cost. (Ed. note: I mean in terms of giving up something to get him. I’m well aware that his production vs cost is horrific.) In the likelihood that no team claims him by tomorrow at noon, the Senators will have 30 days to decide the future of Cheechoo. Regardless, I think it’s a great message by the organization. It would have been a conflicting message to tell fans that they’re serious about winning while continuing to keep Cheechoo on the books. By waiving Cheechoo and bringing in Cullen at a small cost, this organization deserves to be lauded for making a tough business decision and biting the bullet here. (Ed. note: Bruce Garrioch has just Tweeted that Cheechoo will not be accompanying the Senators on their road trip. He is done with the organization.) Unless he’s picked up, you can now bank on Bryan Murray exercising a buyout over Cheechoo’s contract over the summer.
Volchenkov Contract News
According to Chris Botta, Senators announce they are not trading Anton Volchenkov, have made an offer to the potential UFA and want to keep him.