- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Perhaps most relevant from Monday's news that veteran GM Bryan Murray was extended through July 2016 was the expressed message that it's about winning now for the Ottawa Senators.
The rebuilding is over. It's time to go for it.
"The reason I'm on board, and I know the reason Eugene has me on board, is to try to get something done in the next short time," Murray said Monday.
During a media call with a small number of reporters Monday, both Murray and owner Eugene Melnyk made it clear that the young club that the GM has rebuilt over the past few years is ready to add missing pieces and is willing to move some of the depth in the organization's young talent pool to get it done.
"I think we do have a good number of young people I would think other organizations would be interested in," Murray said. "The Bobby Ryan deal [last summer] required us to give up a young player, a couple of young players. I think it's been a good thing for us, and I believe it'll be a good thing for Anaheim.
"But, yes, we're open to talking about moving a young part or two to get the required player that we would need."
Which doesn't mean it's open season on all of Ottawa's young pieces.
"We're not moving Curtis Lazar, I can tell you at this point in time," Murray said of his prized junior prospect who played for Canada at the world juniors. "But we do have a number of players that probably are deserving of playing some games or playing in the NHL that may not get a chance because of our numbers up here that we would talk to teams about for a more veteran-type player.
"But very definitely one of the priorities here for us has been to draft, stock, develop our players and make sure this organization is good for a lot of years. I think that's the position we're getting ourselves in. We've got some young goaltenders coming, I think we've got a couple of young defensemen that look like real keepers, and there's a number of forwards in Binghamton right now and Lazar in juniors. We would make the right commonsense trades if there was something there without robbing what would be our future."
Earlier this season, when his team got off to a horrid start, Murray worked the phones trying to find a puck-moving defenseman. The play of rookie blueliner Cody Ceci since being called up, and the overall better play of his blue-line corps, has shifted Murray's focus elsewhere in terms of needs.
"At the beginning, we were very concerned about the mobility of our defense and what was happening there," said Murray. "We were trying, and I talked to a number of teams about a puck-moving D. But again, the drafting here ... has produced a quality defenseman here in Cody Ceci. He's young, but we can't get him out of the lineup now since we've brought him up from Binghamton. He's been really good for us, real solid. So probably the one area that, like a lot of teams, we still need is another forward that has some impact, either in the scoring part of it or the physical part. Either/or, and I think that would address a need on our hockey team."
7dScott Burnside and Craig Custance