Sens GM thinking defence first as trade deadline looms


Bryan Murray is spending the weekend working the phones.

While Senators coach Cory Clouston cancelled the club’s practice Saturday at Scotiabank Place, there was no rest for Ottawa’s GM as Murray tries to bolster his roster before Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.

The NHL’s trade freeze will be lifted Sunday at midnight once the Vancouver Olympics are wrapped up, and it probably won’t take long for the first post-Games deals to get done.

“The amount of talk is increasing, but the prices are still high,” a league executive said Saturday. “My sense is you’re going to see some deals completed Monday.”

The Senators are thin on the blue line, especially with Chris Campoli sidelined for a month with a knee injury and the loss of Alex Picard in the Matt Cullen deal.

Murray would love to add a puck-moving defenceman for the stretch run — but that type of player is a highly sought-after commodity and could command a steep price. Murray would rather not give up a roster player, but defenceman Brian Lee could be available in the right deal.

It’s believed the Senators have talked with the Minnesota Wild about acquiring defenceman Marek Zidlicky. He has a cap hit of $3.35 million (all terms US) and could become a UFA on July 1. Seven or eight teams have shown interest in picking him up for the rest of the season, but sources say he is close to signing a three-year extension with the Wild in the $12-million range.