Don Cherry doesn't understand why Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray didn't trade goalie Ray Emery on Tuesday.

The only deal Murray made before the 3 p.m. ET deadline was to acquire veteran right-winger Martin Lapointe from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a sixth-round pick in this year's draft.

Ottawa once sat on a commanding lead atop the Eastern Conference standings, but the club has floundered since January, and Cherry, co-host of the Coach's Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada, thinks it's because of their goaltending situation.

Cherry doesn't agree with Ottawa's practice of rotating between Emery and Martin Gerber because he thinks it promotes instability. Cherry believes Gerber should be tabbed as the No. 1 goalie in Ottawa and that Murray should have made every effort to trade Emery.

"I never heard anybody talking about Emery and why he didn't go anywhere. I was really surprised Murray didn't do something there. I firmly believe Gerber is one of those guys who has to be the No. 1 goalie and not have another guy pushing him," Cherry told Hockey Night in Canada Radio.

"If you look at the start of the season, Emery wasn't pushing him, and Gerber was awesome. As soon as Emery came back and started pushing him, Gerber went downhill."

Ottawa was tabbed as a Stanley Cup contender during the early part of the season, but its recent poor form has fans in Ottawa wondering whether the Senators will make a lengthy playoff run.

Cherry thinks Ottawa's problems could be solved if it simply tabbed Gerber as their starting goalie.

"Murray's got to get rid of one of them. He can't keep going the way he is with that team. That is the problem, in and out with his two goalies … They have to go with one of them," Cherry said.

"I believe that's the problem with Ottawa."