A Lot of Focus on Bryan Murray Heading into Mar. 4 Trade Dealine

Anthony ConstableCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2009

Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray needs to be deliberate and cautious with any moves he plans to make at this years trading deadline. There is an overall vibe that ownership could be lining Murray up to be let go in the off season.

Acquiring Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli from the New York Islanders was a winning move for Murray, but it takes a longer look to realize this. Dean McAmmond and San Jose's first-round pick were shipped in the other direction, and if you break down the value of those, you can really understand what Murray might have been thinking.

McAmmond has no doubt passed on any leadership qualities he possesses, and now sits at the end of the bench and underused. San Jose's pick is going to be very low, its value would be best found in a defenseman for the Senators.

Chris Campoli is a young puck moving defenseman, who has gained valuable playing experience with the Islanders, but still holds potential to raise his game in a hockey market like Ottawa. 

Mike Comrie has expressed regret about leaving Ottawa, and if that is true the Senators might be able to reach a deal to resign him. If the Senators can resign Comrie this summer, then this deal is a lot better than it originally appears.

Even if Comrie leaves town, however, then Bryan Murray has picked up a defenseman far beyond the abilities of anyone he would pick up with San Jose's first pick.

Beyond the deal already made, there still remains the question of possible deals to come. Should Bryan Murray try to add another piece and expect this team to carry themselves out of the basement, or should he try to add pieces for a little off season tweaking to build a team for next season?

Either way, Bryan Murray may not have a lot of time left at the helm, and so he needs to pick his moves wisely.

It looks like the curtain has dropped on this season for the Senators. They would need a record like 20-4 down the stretch, and while this certainly isn't out of their capabilities, it's a lot of pressure to place a team.

While it appears that one of two moves to bulk up the team could set them over the top to make a run like that, if they fail it could leave them lacking a few things that would come in quite handy next season. 

If you take a look at the things that Ottawa has been lacking this season, it might give you a better look at what they need to add in order to make an ill-advised run to the playoffs. 

Scoring has been a serious problem this season in the capital city. You would expect Murray to add a catalyst for the offense, and Comrie was a good move in that direction. One more similar player added, and you could see Ottawa's potent offensive threat reappear.

It would come at a high cost, and giving anything up in return could heavily effect their chances next season. At this point, trading for another player coming into UFA this off season would be a terrible decision.

Defense has been good, defensively, but they are lacking the offensive touch from the back end that they once possessed. Chris Campoli was a good addition to cure this problem, but if Murray actually expects this team to make a 20-4 stretch run, then he absolutely needs to add another puck moving defenseman.

If bringing back Comrie was any indication, then maybe Murray should look to bring back Joe Corvo. The truth is, after Ottawa hit the Stanley Cup finals, they simply let too many players go, and turned over their defensive lines far too much, and it shows in their play since then.

Logically the Senators GM should look to add pieces for next season, but not any further into the future. If Murray can't make a move that will help next season, then he should hold tight, and hope to make a splash in the free-agent market this offseason. Perhaps focus on getting Mike Comrie under a new contract.

This team is still not far removed from their Stanley Cup run, but they need to get back players to fill the role of offensively capable defenseman that made such an impact for them before.

Should be an interesting deadline for Ottawa, and their GM, as it may be his last at the helm of the Ottawa Senators.