You can pretty much take Filip Kuba’s name off the trading block, according to Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Murray said that Kuba was an important part of a surprising Senators team and it would not make sense to part with him at this stage of the game.
“I think he’s one of our best defencemen if not our most steady guy at this point in time,” explained Murray. “He’s played the penalty kill, power play, been Erik Karlsson’s partner and played a lot of minutes. He has great respect on the team and I’m not sure why his name has ever come up. At this point in time – unless I got something awfully, awfully good – it wouldn’t do us any service to not keep him here.”
Kuba is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, but Murray has not initiated talks to try and re-sign him. The most likely scenario will see the Senators hang onto Kuba after the deadline and wait to see how he performs down the stretch – and possibly into the playoffs.
If they like what they see, it would not be out of the question to offer Kuba a short-term deal. But any discussion involving Kuba’s future beyond this season will have to take place in the spring.
With Kuba’s name essentially off the market, it’s highly unlikely that Murray will make a significant deal at the deadline. Instead, he is more likely to trade for a player that adds depth to his squad.
Murray also took himself out of the running for landing a rental player at the deadline – such as a proven veteran who would come at a high price. Instead, the Senators general manager said he would prefer to make a deal that is similar to the one that landed him Kyle Turris in December.
“That’s the kind of trade I’d like to make. If we can get a younger player coming in that has a good future going forward, that’s the type of thing I’d much prefer to do,” said Murray. “Rather than trading a young player for a veteran guy who is unrestricted and you will have a hard time re-signing and keeping here.”
Murray indicated he has spoken to several general managers this week, but nothing has progressed to the point of serious talks.