The Ottawa Senators exceeded all expectations in the first year of their three year plan to rebuild the squad. Now the question is: what do they do for an encore?
Bryan Murray did a very good job this season by bringing in youth from the farm in Binghamton and mixing it masterfully with the existing core of players.
It also didn’t hurt the team to get NHL calibre goaltending all season long from Craig Anderson. The team seems set in the net for years to come with Ben Bishop, and Robin Lehner waiting in the wings.
Which bring us to our first question: Should Bryan Murray trade one of his netminders for offensive help?
This is a hard question for me to answer because as most Senators fans will tell you, the clubs Achilles heel has always been it’s goaltender, and then this season to have not one, but three solid performers in goal was a luxury the Ottawa Senators have never experienced.
In past years if the Ottawa Senators number one goalie went down with a freak injury the club would have taken a huge nose dive in the standings, and perhaps right out of the playoff race, but this year was different for the club as both Bishop and Lehner performed well when Anderson was on the shelf.
Plus after a strong showing in the playoffs Anderson’s value may never get higher.
If Murray was going to move a goaltender you would think it would have to be Anderson just based solely on his age compared to the other two. Anderson will be 31 at the start of next season while Bishop will be 25, and Lehner 21.
I believe Murray will hang onto Anderson for at least one more season as he is a fully developed asset while the other two are still developing prospects.
Bishop should serve as Anderson’s back up, and Lehner will play the starting role for one more season in Binghamton.
However, if Murray decided to move Anderson his durability, and relatively cheap cap number of $2.75 million will make him fairly easy to move with teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders all looking for help in goal, and perhaps holding players that Murray covets.
Come back to Rant Sports tomorrow to read my take on what could happen with the Ottawa Senators defense.