The Ottawa Senators may have made one of the best deals at the 2013 trade deadline, when they sent goaltender Ben Bishop to the Tampa Bay Lightning for skilled forward Cory Conacher. With Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner playing great hockey and both returning next season, there really wasn’t a spot for Bishop in the future. Conacher has already showed he can contribute in Ottawa, which is why the Senators would be wise to lock him up long-term before his price climbs even higher.
Conacher made his NHL debut to start the season, and scored nine goals for the Lightning. He had two goals and five points in his time with the Senators, and chipped in three goals in the playoffs. Those goals came in back-to-back games against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, and one was the game-winner that helped the Senators clinch the series.
At just 23 years old, Conacher has already played well at every level (he was the 2012 AHL MVP and Rookie Of The Year and won a Calder Cup), and his current contract is quite a bargain. He has a cap hit of less than $1 million for next season, and locking him up now could end up paying big dividends for a Senators team that may see Daniel Alfredsson retire and has looming questions about the health of Jason Spezza. At the time of his trade to Senators, Conacher’s 24 points in 35 games placed him second in rookie scoring, and while he may not have done enough to get Calder Trophy consideration his playoff performance undoubtedly put him on the radar of more teams.