With his new contract out of the way, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is ready to get back to the work of improving his club for a run at the playoffs once again.
The NHL's trade deadline isn't until March 5 but in theory it could come much earlier this season thanks to the Olympics. Since the league will shut down for two weeks for the Games, there will only be one week between the league restarting and the deadline for trades, meaning we could see a flurry of activity before the break begins.
No matter when the action picks up, Murray has designs on being one of the general managers involved in the talks. He explained on Monday after signing his extension that he's on the look out for deals. Stephen Whyno of the Canadian Press had the details from Murray's conference call:
"Just watching the progress in the last month and a little bit, I think that the objective now is certainly more than it was a month before," Murray said on a conference call. "We are available to make a deal."
As an example, Murray pointed to the July 5 trade with the Anaheim Ducks that landed the Senators Bobby Ryan. Ottawa gave up young forward Jakob Silfverberg and prospect Stefan Noesen to get the winger who filled a void left by Daniel Alfredsson's departure.
Again, the Senators would be willing to trade from their position of youth in the organization.
"We do have a number of players that probably are deserving of playing some games or playing in the NHL that may not get a chance because of our numbers up here that we would talk to teams about for a more veteran-type player," Murray said.
It's not all that often you see GMs so willing to part with young talent but even at the NHL level the Sens remain a pretty young team overall, meaning they have a lot to deal with. Not to mention there is at least one restriction: their top pick in 2013, Curtis Lazar, is on the no-trade list.
One thing working against the Senators is that a lot of teams will be looking for veteran-type players who can score, something in particular they want.
This is based on nothing whatsoever, just simple speculation, but maybe Matt Moulson could make an interesting acquisition. There's obviously a strong connection now in Buffalo with Murray's nephew Tim Murray taking over and he's obviously familiar with the Senators' prospects having been responsible for drafting many of them. Would anybody be surprised if these two linked up in no time to become trade partners?
One thing is important to remember with the Senators though; they always have restrictions on the budget and owner Eugene Melnyk has seemed to make it very clear he doesn't want to add much payroll. So if the Sens want to swing any deals it might have to be money for money situations unless Melnyk changes his mind for the stretch run.