Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Solid upgrade for the Senators

John Muckler made a pretty good move at the deadline today. Bringing in Greg DeVries to add depth to an already impressive defence. Giving up relatively little in return, sending Karl Rachunek off to the Rangers as well as a prospect named Alexandre Giroux. Muckler has made possibly the final touch on a roster that should be able to go far in the Stanley Cup playoffs. With DeVries joining Phillips, Redden and Chara on the blue line, the Sens may just have the best Corps of blue liners in the league. With the logjam on the blue line now, the Sens moved Shane Hnidy off to Nashville for a draft pick. Hnidy was a popular player in the Sens dressing room and always answered the bell when summoned on the ice, but the chance to add a veteran like DeVries outweighed Hnidy's purpose.

For the players it's another sign that the Senators will be pushing hard to finish off some business this year. Muckler has taken advantage of the extra cash provided by new owner Eugene Melnyk, to bring in some blue chip players, without having to give up the core group that has brought them so close the last few years.

The interesting sub plot of trade deadline in Ottawa was the expression of confidence that Muckler has in Patrick Lalime. Muckler admitted that Lalime has struggled this year, but says he also remembers the Lalime that stood on his head in past playoff games. Rumours had been flying that the Sens were heavily involved in discussions to move Olaf Kolzig to Ottawa, but apparently those talks did not turn into anything, if they ever actually took place.

By not bringing in a goaltender, Muckler is giving Lalime the chance to lead his team into the Stanley Cup. By adding the likes of DeVries and Bondra late in the season all the pieces are in place for Ottawa, If Lalime responds to the challenge, then this team is going to be playing hockey well into June.

No comments: