After their first 20 games this season, Ottawa Senators are sitting in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The club was not expected to compete for a playoff spot, as they started a significant re-building process 10 months ago. But now that they are in the race at the quarter-mark of the season, Bryan Murray admitted he may look at adding a piece or two to his team.
“Going forward, we may address an issue if we feel there is one, ” Murray told reporters in Vancouver on Friday morning. “Obviously, management and coaches will talk as we get towards the next twenty games and see if there is something realistic that we can add to the team that will make us better. Then we’ll see what the cost is.”
Murray said he is not close to any deals at this time, despite the fact he was with his counterparts at the GM meetings in Toronto earlier this week.
And the Senators general manager made it very clear that he’s not willing to mortgage the club’s long-term future to simply secure a playoff spot this season. After selecting three players in the first round of this past June’s NHL Entry Draft, the Senators have stockpiled a number of talented young players in their system.
“Right now, we feel that we have at least five or six more young men coming that will play on our team in the future besides the people we have here now. I’m not likely to spend a lot of that unless there is a sure-bet player there – and there never is a sure-bet player,” explained Murray. “So I’m a little reluctant to give up something that is going to be good in the future. It comes down to the individual who is available and the discussions that take place and where we realistically think we are at the time.”
The Senators most pressing need might be a second-line centre. Peter Regin’s season has been de-railed by injuries, leaving rookie Stephane Da Costa to fill the role. The rookie has just five points in 20 games this season and is carrying a -8 rating, so Murray understands the challenges faced by Da Costa.
“We’ll keep looking at that. He’s a young man starting out his career coming out of college hockey and he’s stepping in and trying to play on a second line in the NHL against some awfully good players and it’s somewhat difficult. We will continue to address it,” said Murray.