The Ottawa Senators have reportedly been perusing the trade market since early on in the campaign in search of a scoring forward, albeit without success to this point. With the recent news that Clarke MacArthur will not be returning this season due to lingering issues related to a concussion suffered in the preseason, the Senators search now has added urgency with the trade deadline approaching. However, as Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun writes, the Sens should not be willing to include Curtis Lazar in any potential trade for an upgrade at forward.
Even though Lazar has failed to register a single point in 23 games this season for Ottawa, Brennan sees parallels between the 21-year-old forward and another former Senators first-round pick, Nick Foligno. Selected with the 28th overall choice in the 2006 draft, Foligno spent the first five seasons of his NHL career with Ottawa but never scored more than 17 goals or 47 points in any single campaign and ultimately was dealt to Columbus in exchange for defenseman Marc Methot. Since the trade, Foligno has developed into a terrific power forward with a 30-goal campaign to his credit and is on pace for 60-plus points this season. To be fair, Methot has been a solid defender for Ottawa but a physical forward that can score, something Brennan believes Lazar can become, is exactly what this Senators club needs and the team should be hesitant to pull the plug too early on his development.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division:
- The recent rumors pertaining to Claude Julien’s job security prompted Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News to compile a list of head coaches he feels also may be in jeopardy of losing their current gig. Chief among them is Buffalo Sabres bench boss Dan Bylsma. In the scribe’s estimation, the Sabres have no excuse to be sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings despite injuries to several key regulars, and the coach deserves his share of the blame. However, whether it would be warranted or not, Harrington doesn’t believe team owner Terry Pegula will pull the trigger on a coaching change in large part because the Buffalo Bills, also owned by Pegula, recently dismissed their high-profile head coach, Rex Ryan, who like Bylsma was in the second year of a five-year contract at the time of his termination.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning’s success in recent seasons has had a lot to do with a stingy defense, one that allowed the fifth fewest goals last year. It’s been a much different story this season, as the team has allowed nearly half-a-goal more per game and the Lightning are far closer to the bottom of the standings than the top as a result. However, in the midst of a crucial six-game road trip, it’s Tampa Bay’s offense that has let the team down and further jeopardized their playoff chances, as Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Lightning have found the back of the net five times in their last four games while managing to amass just three points halfway through what Smith refers to as a “make-or-break” road trip. Conversely, the club’s defense has tightened up, allowing just four regulation markers during that span. There is plenty of scoring talent on the roster and it’s likely just a matter of time before the goals start coming in bunches, but will that happen soon enough to save the team’s season? The answer to that question may well dictate whether the team is a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline.