So, another NHL Trade Deadline Day has come and gone. In the past, I've sat salivating over the TSN website, waiting for juicy details about the trades of the day, and praying that maybe - just maybe - the Sens would make that perfect trade, land a big-name player to bolster the line-up, and help us on our way to the Stanley Cup.
Things were a little different this year. For the first time since I've become a Sens fan, I can sit here in early March and quite confidently declare that my team is not going to make the play-offs. They won't even make things exciting. As Steve Warne declared this morning on TGOR, they ONLY need to go 19-1 for their remaining twenty games in order to reach that magic 94 points that all but guarantees you a spot in the playoffs.
The dreams were dashed long ago. There is absolutely no hope.
So yesterday, when I got to work, I went to TSN's website and popped up the Trade Tracker half-heartedly, really not figuring on caring what would come across it throughout the day.
On past Deadline Days, I've found myself frequently disappointed. Very rarely did the Senators make any noise at all. Usually, by the end of the day, they might've added some depth or a character player. More often than not, it would be someone that would play out the rest of the season and the playoffs, and then hit the road through Unrestricted Free Agency in the summer. I'm thinking Mike Comrie, Oleg Saprykin, Tyler Arnason (worst acquisition ever), Tom Barasso...guys like that. The only one from that list I had any love for was Comrie, and we already got him back a few weeks ago, along with D-man Chris Campoli, in exchange for Dean McAmmond (who I also loved, so it was a bittersweet swap).
The Sens have hardly ever been the team to make the big splash in that department.
So needless to say, I was a little shocked when the first trade of the day that popped up belonged to the Sens!
At first, I was really disappointed to see they'd traded Antoine Vermette to the Columbus Blue Jackets for goalie Pascal Leclaire and a second-round pick in '09. You might recall, not so long ago, I devoted an entire blog to Vermette's delicious abs. Following Wade Redden's departure from the team, Vermette really was one of the last few "beautiful boys" left.
So no, Bryan Murray didn't win big points with me for shipping him off. Who's next, Mike Fisher?? Seems the man is determined to make them the ugliest team in the NHL, so beware, Mikey!
All joking aside, I've since learned that Leclaire is actually a pretty well-respected 'tender in the league, despite being shelved for the rest of this season with an ankle injury. Pierre McGuire even declared him the best netminder the Sens have ever had. (I'm not so sure about that. Pierre annoys the hell out of me on a good day. And we did once have Dominik Hasek. He was pretty amazing until that...um...adductor injury. Still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I also thought Ray Emery was considered pretty elite the year we went to the finals. At least, until he went squirrely last year...)
So the Sens proved to be quite active on Trade Day, even though they weren't making deals to help them win the Cup. Not this year, anyways. But hopefully, the deals made yesterday will help them next season.
Signing Filip Kuba to a 3-year extension, was a fairly smart move, I think. Not that he's the best defenceman in the league, but considering what we've got now, he's one of the better ones! And the absolute best thing about the day? GETTING RID OF MARTIN GERBER!! The best part about that?? WE SOMEHOW SUCKERED THE LEAFS INTO CLAIMING HIM OFF WAIVERS!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!
Yes. That was easily my favourite part of the day. Enjoy him, Leaf fans! He's all yours!!
Murray was unable to get Chris Neil signed, so there was talk that he could be traded away, but that never happened. Thank God. I really like Neil, and I wasn't prepared to lose both him and Vermette on the same day.
I wish Vermette well with the Blue Jackets - I hope he finally hits his stride and gets things going with them. He never seemed to quite flourish in Ottawa - flashes of star quality here and there, but he never bloomed the way we had hoped. Best of luck to him in Columbus.
We won't get to see our new goalie until next season, which leaves our "big trade" feeling a little anti-climatic. But if it gains us a little stability between the pipes next season, then I'm all for it. Hopefully over the summer management is able to fill in all the cracks and crevices still remaining in the line-up - and Lord knows there's still quite a few - so that I can once again get excited about my Senators again.
I'd really like to just forget about this year and move on.