While the Ottawa Senators are fully committed to a rebuild, their recent actions would also indicate that they would like to be more competitive than they currently are. The Senators are off to a 1-6-1 start and, as TSN’s James Duthie noted on the network’s “Insider Trading” segment, the team is in the bottom two in the league in scoring, power play efficiency, and shooting percentage. They tried to remedy their offensive struggles by adding Vladislav Namestnikov in a trade with the New York Rangers earlier this month, but they may only be the beginning.
Duthie’s colleague, Darren Dreger, reports that the team is seeking more help via trade and are looking for another “bargain” acquisition. Ottawa acquired Namestnikov, a former 20-goal and near 50-point scorer for a mere fourth-round pick and AHL defenseman. Since the trade, he has led the Senators with six points in six games. The team would ideally like to find another impact player at a similarly affordable price. Namestnikov’s production in Ottawa is obviously a function of his increased role, but the team seems open to handing another player that ice time and responsibility as well. Dreger notes that the Senators understand that their young players need time to develop and are not going to rush them to the NHL level simply because the team is not expected to make the playoffs this season. The team is trying to find a happy medium between properly developing their prospects and fielding a competitive NHL roster and feel adding another capable name could help.
Nearly every team in the NHL has a player on the outs who could take advantage of an increased role in Ottawa. The question becomes whether GM Pierre Dorion will be looking solely for another impending unrestricted free agent, like Namestnikov, or if he will also consider players with term remaining on their contract. The team could also look into cast-off prospects with NHL experience to take on major roles, as the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi and the New York Islanders’ Josh Ho-Sang continue to be available names with upside that could make them affordable additions relative to their potential production.