Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray should be a journalist, or maybe a stock broker. The man loves deadlines and he loves trading.
The CBC's Jamie Long writes a sports column each Friday for CBC.ca. He also brings you a weekly sports segment on CBC TV News at 6 in Ottawa each Saturday.
If history tells us anything, Murray’s index finger is itching to pull the trigger before 3 p.m. ET on March 5.
In the six seasons since he became the Senators’ general manager, Murray has made at least two trades in the month leading up to each trade deadline (See his trade deadline history at the bottom of the story).
Unlike other years, Murray isn’t working with a surplus of valued assets. He already lost his first-round pick in the Bobby Ryan trade and there's no extra piece like Ben Bishop in Murray’s back pocket.
He does have a long list of young forwards who could become important players down the road, as well as young defencemen on the NHL roster who have yet to reach their potential, plus a couple of pending unrestricted free agents. But as far as we know, other GMs aren't knocking down Murray's door asking about those players.
Throughout the NHL, general managers are waiting until the last minute to decide whether they buy or sell at the trade deadline. Murray is no different.
But fresh off his new contract extension that should see him in Ottawa for a few more seasons, and while facing a tight budget, it would be wise to stand pat unless a desperate team offers Murray a sweet deal.
Murray's assets will more likely appreciate during this season and next. As a result, the trades he could make in the offseason, or next season, should bring him more return than any trade now.
Veteran leadership struggles affect deadline plan
Murray began this season knowing the team needed to gel. It's taken a while, but there have been improvements.
Still, the new leadership has struggled, the team has been inconsistent and the lineup continues to be a work in progress.
Spezza is no longer the team's top centre. Chris Phillips is no longer among the Senators’ top four defencemen. Craig Anderson has struggled, though so has backup Robin Lehner for that matter.
Young defencemen also haven't played up to expectations. It’ll take a strong finish and some long-awaited consistency just to sneak into the playoffs.
Murray has said he wants a forward who could be in Ottawa over the long term. Will that player make the difference between making and missing the playoffs? Maybe, but he won't turn this team into a Stanley Cup contender.
It's unlikely Murray will find the player he wants without selling off too many assets, so Murray should just ease off that trigger, and walk away.
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Bryan Murray's trade deadline history
|Cory Conacher, Matt Kassian, 4th Round Pick||Ben Bishop, 6th Round pick|
|2012||Matt Gilroy, Ben Bishop||Brian Lee, 2nd Round Pick|
|2011||Craig Anderson, Ryan Potulny, 1st Round Pick, two 2nd Round Picks, 6th Round pick, 7th Round pick||Chris Campoli, Alexei Kovalev, Chris Kelly, Brian Elliott, Jarkko Ruutu, Mike Fisher|
|2010||Andy Sutton, Matt Cullen||Alexandre Picard, two 2nd Round Picks|
|2009||Pascal Leclaire, 2nd Round Pick, Mike Comrie, Chris Campoli||Antoine Vermette, Dean McAmmond, 1st Round Pick|
|2008||Mike Commodore, Cory Stillman, Martin Lapointe||Joe Corvo, Patrick Eaves, 6th Round Pick|