Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion continues to be on the hunt to add a forward to the mix but has had no success finding a trade partner so far, reports Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. With the team currently in their mandated five day break, Dorion is in Montreal at the World Junior Hockey Championships and has spoken with at least six of his counterparts around the league who are also in attendance. Dorion noted that he isn’t necessarily looking for a top six forward but rather just someone that can add some depth to Ottawa’s group:
“For me, the way our guys have fallen this year, we’ve had more injuries up front. If we could add a forward, it’s something I would definitely look at. It doesn’t have to specifically be a front-line guy, it might be a fourth-line guy, but adding a forward is something I’m more looking at than a defenceman right now.”
The Sens have been without left winger Clarke MacArthur all season due to a concussion and the team isn’t putting any firm timetable on his return though they are hopeful that will come late this month or in early February. Youngster Curtis Lazar also missed time early on with mononucleosis and has struggled since then while center Zack Smith is also out of the lineup though there’s a good chance he’ll return this weekend.
Dorion also commented on the trade market (or lack thereof) so far:
“As quiet as it was before Christmas, I think talks are heating up but it’s very difficult to make trades. Sometimes budget comes into it for other teams, sometimes it’s the number of contracts … So, working hard at it, I’m always looking to improve our team but there’s nothing imminent or at the forefront right now.”
While there has been plenty of discussion about the lack of cap space that many teams around the league have, the number of contracts each team has can also play a role in trades. Teams are allowed to have as many as 50 players under contract (excluding signed players that are eligible for a contract slide) and nine teams are currently within three of that amount. Many teams will look to keep at least a couple of slots open for the trade deadline while some will also want a spot or two for potential college free agent signings late in the season for players that sign and burn a year of their contract right away. The contract limit isn’t as difficult to work around as a hard salary cap but it’s certainly another factor in trade discussions.