Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sens and Canes make deal

In case anyone missed it yesterday, the first significant deal came down involving two Eastern Conference teams. The Ottawa Senators acquired forward Cory Stillman and defenseman Mike Commodore from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Patrick Eaves and defenseman Joe Corvo.

BONY Analysis: The Senators improve up front with the proven Stillman who's been an integral part of two Stanley Cup winners (2004 TB, 2006 Car). Adding a player of his caliber to the league's best scoring line of Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley makes Ottawa even scarier. How are teams going to match-up? Especially with underrated forwards Mike Fisher, Antoine Vermette, Dean McAmmond and meat and potatoes Chris Neil. The Sens had become more of a one-line team this season. So Stillman's addition is huge because now Fisher has a skilled player on his line. Commodore is also a solid physical stay at home D who is an upgrade over the offensive-minded Corvo. He also won a Cup with Stillman and has been to two Finals (2004 Cgy, 2006 Car).

Before this move by GM Bryan Murray, there were questions in terms of scoring depth up front and physicality on the back line. Both have been addressed making the defending Eastern Conference champion the team to beat again.

On the Hurricanes' side, it's understandable why GM Jim Rutherford made this trade. Both Stillman and Commodore are eligible to become unrestricted free agents at the conclusion of the season. They probably couldn't afford to re-sign them due to the cap.

They did get two capable players in return. Eaves could still develop into a solid third liner and possibly a second liner in their aggressive forechecking system. It all depends if he's recovered from last year's concussion suffered in the postseason. Corvo addesses a need on the blueline as the Canes don't really boast a point man to run their power play which has allowed a season worst 10 shorthanded goals because they rely heavily on forwards.

It seems that both teams did reasonably well in this deal. For Ottawa, it's all about delivering a championship this year while for Carolina, they got solid players back who can still help them win the Southeast Division and also stick around for the future.

Trade Winner: When push comes to shove, I have to give the Senators the edge here because of how much they improved for the short-term. The time is now to win a Cup. This is a great trade by Murray which could push them over the top.

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