Inconsistent Senators not looking for rental at trade deadline | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaInconsistent Senators not looking for rental at trade deadline

Posted: Saturday, March 1, 2014 | 12:22 PM

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Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The Ottawa Senators may have sealed their playoff fate with lopsided losses to the Boston Bruins before the Olympic break and the Detroit Red Wings after the Games. Will this force general manager Bryan Murray to be more of a seller in the next few days? Writes Tim Wharnsby.

With the 2014 NHL trade deadline set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, cbcsports.ca will take a look at each Canadian team prior to the final day of wheeling and dealing. After taking a look at the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens earlier this week, the Ottawa Senators are today's focus.

The situation: Under head coach Paul MacLean, the Senators have made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and advanced to the second round last spring. But they have taken a step backwards this year ... The playoff chances for the inconsistent Senators took a hard hit in lopsided losses sandwiched around the Olympic break that saw them go down 7-2 to Boston before and 6-1 to Detroit after. These results will force Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray to take a hard look at getting something in return for impending unrestricted free agents Chris Phillips, Milan Michalek and Joe Corvo. Phillips has been with the Senators since he was their first overall pick in 1996. But he could fetch a couple second-round selections like Buffalo did a year ago when Robyn Regehr was moved to Los Angeles  ... Murray has stated that he favours trading for a player with term on his contract rather than a rental player. The Sens GM had interest in sniper Chris Stewart, but St. Louis dealt him to Buffalo in the Ryan Miller trade on Friday. That doesn't mean, however, that Stewart could not be flipped to Ottawa ... It will be interesting to see if Murray and his nephew Tim, now the Sabres general manager, come together to make a trade before Wednesday. 

Playoff hopes: 12th in the East, five points behind eighth-place Philadelphia.

Schedule: 22 games remaining (11 home, 11 road)

At home: Nashville, Colorado, N.Y. Rangers, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Calgary, Carolina, N.Y. Islanders, Montreal, New Jersey, Toronto.

On the road: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Florida, N.Y. Rangers, N.Y. Islanders, Pittsburgh.

Restricted free agents: Cory Conacher, Eric Gryba, Mike Hoffman, Robin Lehner.

Unrestricted free agents: Joe Corvo, Matt Kassian, Milan Michalek, Chris Phillips.

No-trade clauses: Clarke MacArthur (no movement), Chris Neil (modified), Chris Phillips (limited), Jason Spezza (no-trade). 

Cap space: $36.9 million US

On the farm: Local Ottawa product Jean-Gabriel Pageau, 21, gave the Senators a late-season lift a year ago and continued to impress in the playoffs. But like Ottawa, he was unable to build off his success last spring. He has played 21 games for the Senators this season, but checked in with only two goals. Maybe lightning could strike twice for Pageau and the Senators again with a late-season promotion.

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