Ottawa loads up

While Bob Gainey was en route to trying to extinguish a brush fire in Tampa, Bryan Murray was improving his team – by a lot.

The Senators traded Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves to Carolina for Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore.

What a steal for Ottawa.

They sacrificed very little to land a goal-scorer and a hard-hitting defenceman.

Stillman, who waived his no-trade clause to  join  the Senators, is 34. He’s scored 21 goals this season and is making $1.75 million.

Commodore is 28, leads Carolina with 74 PiM and makes $1.3 million.

Corvo, 30, was making $2.75 million in Ottawa.

Eaves, 23, makes $942,000 and missed 24 games with a shoulder injury. 

60 Comments

  1. the_vipah says:

    This is a nothing move. Ottawa needs toughness not another soft forward. Commodore will help, however I don’t see him swinging the balance in a physical battle with the likes of Philly or Anahiem.

    I knew when the Sens made it to the finals last year it would be a cakewalk for the Ducks, I dont see that changing this year, infact the way other teams in the league toughened up, they may be lucky to go 2 rounds.

  2. howtathor says:

    With all the talk about Hossa and Blake I had no idea that Stillman and Commodore were available. Stillman would have been a great rental for the second line. Makes we wonder who else out there is available. Now that Ottawa has pulled the trigger I hope we’ll be seeing some deals in the near future. Seems like Carolina is a seller. Now what would it take to pry Eric Cole out of there. The guy grew up in upstate NY and loves the Habs. Kills the Habs too, can really drive to the net and would fit great with Higgy and Koivu.

  3. SUMO says:

    Apologies, I meant to say in the “minority” on Higgins. I want him to be a Hab for many more seasons.

  4. stephen says:

    Hmm, didn’t realize he was recently signed. I suppose it would take at least one of our higher touted defensive prospects to lure him away.

    I’m trying to think of another d-man of his ilk out there. Wouldn’t it be great to give Hammer someone sturdy to play with? It would definitely take some pressure off the Komisarek-Markov pairing as well.

  5. SUMO says:

    Bro Nightmare_49,

    I think you misunderstood my point. I absolutely agree with you that Mike Commodore is a quality veteran D-man and he comes to play every game. He would also be an upgrade over Breeze-by but the point I was making was that this is not a blockbuster or a “difference-maker” trade of a Sundin or Jokinen.

    I agree the Habs could use both guys (ie 2nd line scoring and quality depth on D) but I kind of like our team the way it is and would rather see one of our young guys be given an opportunity to fill these roles. I’m ok with Ryan O’Byrne or Pavel Valentenko taking up a depth role (we still have Streit and Dandenault as emergency fill ins) and hopefully Ryder or Higgins can step it up in the post season to provide secondary scoring. The Sens got these guys because they didn’t believe in the guys they had could fill these needs.

    Thanks for reading my post and giving your feeback.

    SUMO

    PS I am probably in the majority but I wouldn’t trade Higgins for Jokinen. The reason; with Jokinen, what you see is what you get. Higgins still has more upside to go……

  6. nightmare_49 says:

    RS – Good points , for some reason i think the Sens will be making a couple of more moves before the deadline , other than goalies , for their run at the cup. They won’t admit it but they are building the team that will be a challange against the weatern division which is logical.

  7. nightmare_49 says:

    sumo – Mike Commodore may be an awkward skater and as you say a pylon but he’s big and comes to play and will duke it out and would of looked good in a Habs uniform Saturday. At 28 i thought and suggested he would have been a good pick up for us for a year and a half and maybe more while we wait for the next crew of “D” men to mature. Your right he’s not a top-4 “D” man but could fill in in a pinch.

  8. Chorske says:

    The Habs should be buyers in this market… I’m just not sure there’s anyone beyond Jokinen that I’d like to have. Like a friend of mine said about the men in her small town: the odds are good, but the goods are odd.

  9. ebk says:

    I think you are right 24, Exelby is a pretty good defenseman with a very reasonable contract. He won’t be going anywhere cheaply.

    He would be a very nice addition

  10. SUMO says:

    In Bob we trust.

    Lets not over-react. Corey Stillman is a good pick up for Ottawa. A veteran player with alot of playoff experience. Clutch performer and cup winner. He will fit nicely on a 2nd or 3rd line.

    Mike Commodore, however, is a pylon. Not a top-4 D but more of a depth guy in case of injuries.

  11. 24 Cups says:

    showey – I can’t see the Islanders giving up on Hunter just yet. He’s only 27 and I’m sure Nolan must like his style of play. There’s a lot to like even though he skates like Harry Neale. Maybe we could sign him as a UFA in the summer for $3 mil a year to replace Ryder. It would bring an added dimension to the team and he would be good to go – right in the prime of his career.

    The Original 24 Cups

  12. 24 Cups says:

    stephen – I would doubt that Exelby would be available. Atlanta just signed him to a three year contract and he’s not expensive at a cap hit of $1.4 mil a year. Now I bet they would love to get rid of Zhitnik. What a lousy trade that was.

    The Original 24 Cups

  13. blnieder says:

    I agree with Boone, but lets make it more interesting.

    Jokinnen and Vokun from Florida to Montreal for:

    Ryder, Higgins, O’Byrne and 1st rounder 2008

    Huet, Dandanault and 1st rounder 2009, 2nd rounder 2008 to Tampa Bay for:

    Brad Richards and 2nd rounder 2009 to Montreal.

    Then:

    A.K. , Pleks , Kovi
    Saku , Joki , D’Agostini
    Latendresse , Brad Richards , S.K.
    Begin , Chipper , Lapierre

    Markov , Komi
    Streit , Hammer
    Georges , Cube

    Vokun
    Price
    Halek

    I’s love to see whether we could complete with Ottawa, however, I’m still a little worried about the Defense a bit. We could use Campbell from Buffalo. Then our transition game would be formidable.
    Then WOW.

  14. showey47 says:

    hunter is a ufa this year, i think this is the kind of move gainey should make. Gratton would also be a good idea.

  15. stephen says:

    I hadn’t realized Hunter had fallen off as badly as Ryder this season. Funny how all three top contenders for rookie of the year way back when (2003?) have fallen from grace. Raycroft, Ryder, and Hunter.

    In that sense, it would be an interesting “my problem for your problem” swap.
    Any idea what Hunter’s contract status is?

    Also, I am liking the Gratton idea more and more…

  16. sidhu says:

    All considered, I would move Grabovski and Dandy for Gratton and Andre Roy, and Ryder and a 2nd pick for Trent Hunter. Brisebois waived to make room. That would create something like:

    Higgy-Koivu-Hunter
    AK46-Pleks-Kovy
    Lats-Gratton-Sk74
    Roy-Max-Kosto
    (Begin and Smoke upstairs)

    Markov-Komi
    Hammer-OB/Gorges
    Cube-Streit

    Yes, I am in LA-LA land, but a man can dream, can’t he?

  17. teamplayer says:

    please send bouillon on his way, i would not mind seeing him go

  18. teamplayer says:

    by the amount of chances theyve given emery, i think youre right. I believe they have no confidence and gerber taking them to the cup.

  19. showey47 says:

    yup, exelby is a tough one for sure and would make a good number 4 dman. We would have to trade a dman for sure, either gorges or bouillon.

  20. showey47 says:

    Short term, meaning this years playoffs ottawa gets the better end, but after that the deal goes to carolina. Corvo is capable of quarterbacking the powerplay and eaves is still raw. Stillman should give them secondary scoring depending who he plays with, commodore will essentially make richardson a healthy scratch being the new #6 dman

  21. stephen says:

    Decent move by Murray and the Sens. Stillman is one of those guys who always seems to show up at the right time.

    I’d love to see the Habs toughen up along the blueline. If, by chance, Gainey IS dealing with Atlanta, I’d welcome the likes of Garnet Exelby, who has impressed me in every game the Habs have played against the Thrashers. He has thrown several jarring checks, and seems steady enough in his own end.

    Having grown accustomed to Gainey’s “conservative” wheeling and dealing, it’s hard to imagine any blockbusters come the deadline, but a minor move like Exelby would, I think, go a long way in shoring up the Canadiens’ back end.

  22. Blitzen says:

    I’ve read comments from Carolina fans on message boards who didn’t think that highly of Commodore and Stillman.

  23. 24 Cups says:

    Timo – Outside of Brodeur, I don’t really see any goaltending in the East that is invincible. Most of the net strength is in the West. I won’t be surprised if one of the Ottawa goalies gets his act together and they ride him through the playoffs. Don’t laugh at me, but it might just be Emery. The real test is going up against Nabokov/Luongo/Giguere/Hasek-Osgood.

    The Original 24 Cups

  24. The Teacher says:

    Ooooh Komi looks pissed and looks like he thinks the thing is all a joke. -RDS

  25. arcosenate says:

    wish i was there to throw purses on the ice after o’byrne’s hat trick tonight!

    anyway, that’s a great move by Ottawa. they have really bolstered their lineup, finally gotten some toughness on defense.

    it’s going to be extremely difficult to gain something without giving up too much in this years market. so many teams are so close to making the playoffs and it seems the asking price is gettng higher and higher every day.

    we have no second line scoring. that’s our problem and something has to give. if ottawa is talking about not being able to rely totally on their first line (and look who’s on their first line!) i can only imagine we will be making a rather big move before the deadline if we’re serious about keeping up with the sens!!

  26. likehoy says:

    and to this day I could never fully confide in Cris Huet.

  27. howtathor says:

    Who can forget the famous Stillman shot deflected off of Rivet’s stick and lights out!

  28. nick says:

    Not only that… but with 3 players commanding 25 million, it’s only a matter how much longer he can keep the team he has together… Look at it this way…

    3 players – 25 million
    19 players – 25 million (roughly)

  29. Naila Jinnah says:

    Excellent move!
    Commodore will be their biggest asset, plus, they don’t have to keep these guys next season if they don’t want to! That might mean that they’re looking at their prospects and estimating that they’ll be ready to step up by next year.

  30. 24 Cups says:

    I agree Chorske. Ottawa needs to win the Cup this year or they will be deemed total failures. There is a lot of heat on Murray. Short term, he wins the deal and has a better shot if goes to the finals again with Stillman and Commodore.

    Rutherford probably tried to resign his UFAs and couldn’t so he got a decent defenseman who is signed for two more years and a RFA who won’t break the bank next year. He’s still in the hunt for the 3rd seed and all he has to do is beat out Washington and Atlanta. Who knows, once he gets his injured players back he might even be able to win a series.

    The Original 24 Cups

  31. RS says:

    Stillman is a good pickup for the playoff run. However, the Sens have now lost Preissing and Corvo from last year’s cup final team. Yes, the Ducks showed that the Sens’ defence needed to be bigger, but guys like Preissing and Corvo helped get them to the final in the first place. Now they are lacking real puckhandling defence. I wouldn’t put Redden or Mezaros in that category. I certainly wouldn’t want Phillips, Volchenkov, Commodore or Richardson to be responsible for carrying the puck out of danger!

    Last Saturday, Corvo was causing fits for the Habs all night long.

    It’s a deal that makes sense for both teams.

  32. Chorske says:

    I don’t think this screams ‘fire sale’ in Carolina. It’s more likely that they’re trying to create some cap room for some other big deal they’re cooking up. They are three points out of a playoff spot (although their immediate competition have 1-3 games in hand), so they are not down and out yet.

  33. nightmare_49 says:

    Sumo – I read you , but we are not looking for depth on the blue line but a 5th or 6th “D’ man that’s big stay at home veteran type that can play the second unit on PK cuz Bouillon can’t cut it and it would be too much to ask of O’Bryne (remember Komi’s early days) as of now. This veteran would rotate playing time with Gorges , O’Bey and the Cube so they all stay sharp. As far as Valentenko goes he’s improving but far from ready and will be kept in Hamilton to develope. I don’t think Jokinen will be traded till the summer cuz the owner has personally phoned him to smooth things out. I’m not worried about Higgy’s up side now it’s his down side i’m worried about lately , mind you , he started to show signs of playing better against the Sens and stopped playing like an individual and moved the puck around a bit. Bring on Tampa.

  34. nightmare_49 says:

    Read other posts cuz Stilman and Commodore have been brought up before the deal.

  35. ebk says:

    if the four you refer to are Fisher,Alfreddson, Heatley and Spezza, the nhlnumbers site puts their cap numbers at about $24m for next year.

    That leaves them roughly 24 million after you factor in the goalie. Not great but not that bad either.

  36. showey47 says:

    ah crap i forgot about the actual cap hit, thanks. The fact that the cap is as high as it is now proves we lost a season of hockey for nothing. We are slowly gonna become a 2 tier league again.

  37. showey47 says:

    yeah i caught it as per 2 posts down

  38. ebk says:

    sorry, I didn’t read far enough.

    I think you make a good point, though and it’s not like I was pompous enough to correct your spelling of a word. :)

  39. The Teacher says:

    That’s why I said this year, but you summarized the rest quite nicely.

  40. saskhab says:

    Except Tampa might be the worst drafting team in the NHL and they only spend to $42-$44m, whereas Ottawa is one of the best drafting teams there is and can spend to a $55m-$60m cap and beyond.

    The Sens don’t have $30m of cap space tied up in 4 players, BTW. Combined, those 4 (Heatley, Spezza, Alfie, and Fisher) will be a cap hit of only $23.1m, which really isn’t that bad at all. Plus they have their #1 d-man making only $3.5m. They won’t re-sign Redden, but they’ll re-sign Mezaros and hope he takes the next step in his development to help make up for Redden’s loss.

    They’re well positioned for the future.

  41. MikeL says:

    This is just another of many examples of why Jim Rutherford is an overrated GM. He has made incredibly horrible moves that have been hidden because of their championship. Jack Johnson, anyone?

  42. mjames says:

    I forgot about him. He gave him away because Johnson did not want to play for Carolina. He could have rec’d more I am sure. There was no rush.

    mjames

  43. HotHabs says:

    Very nice move by Murray!

    Ottawa is gearing up for a deep playoff run. They are hungry for the cup this year and this is more proof of that fact. Good for them.

    What will Bob do before the trade deadline? I’d say I’m anxious to see, but past pre-deadline moves remind me to expect little and maybe be surprised!

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  44. 24 Cups says:

    nightmare – I think the Johnson deal was a panic move done out of frustration of not being able to tell the kid what to do. They wanted him to leave school and he balked. Then they pulled a Lousy Leaf deal with LA and probably regretted it by the end of the year. Having said that, Rutherford still runs a pretty good franchise. Look at all the patience he has shown with Andrew Ladd. It’s a pity he didn’t cut Johnson the same slack.

    The Original 24 Cups

  45. nightmare_49 says:

    24 Cups – So true.

  46. nightmare_49 says:

    The Johnson deal freaked me out but regardless Rutherford had to get younger or the Canes would be in the same boat as the laffs.

  47. MathMan says:

    Good move for the Sens; alleviates two of their weaknesses (increasingly suspect D, near-total reliance on first-line scoring) while not sacrificing any overly important pieces. Now if only they could find a consistent goaltender.

    If this sets the market for UFAs, it’s not going to be much of a seller’s market.

  48. ebk says:

    Corvo is a pretty decent hockey player but is only a 5th dman in Ottawa. Commodore should fit that role really well. He is miscast as anything higher than that as evidenced by the Hurricanes defensive problems.

    Stillman is the big addition.

  49. Ian G Cobb says:

    Hi Jay, glad your back safe and sound. Do you really think there goal tending is a problem, I wonder. They now have the best team in the east in my opinion and I don’t see any real weakness between the pipes come playoffs. Controversy yes but when its time to play, there both goalers will pick it up.
    They will probably get smoked by Detroit or Ducks though or who ever they play in the west.
    And as far as BG making a trade, you are quite right, only if it make sense for future years. He knows when to pull the trigger.!

  50. Jay in PA says:

    Un-freaking-believable.

    I’ve always liked the way Commodore raises his game in the playoffs (not to mention the big playoff beard). Stillman is a good add, too. Corvo and Eaves are both players whose names I’ve heard while watching Ottawa games, but whose play never caught my notice. Yep, Ottawa just got stronger, though goaltending is still their achilles heel and they’ve done nothing here to address it.

    On the one hand, I’m jealous–this is the kind of exciting, fortifying trade that BG pulled off to get Kovy (Jozef Balej and a pick went to the Rangers–yawn), but more often than not, we don’t get important players as we arm up for the playoffs. Instead, we get depth guys. On the other, while Commodore is a solid 3-4 D-man that would be great to have, neither of these guys are the magic bullet we’ve been hoping for.

    Before we all start whining about BG’s unwillingness or inability to make the big trade (and–worse–start proposing and arguing unrealistic, self-serving trades of our own), let’s remember that this was a trade that made sense for Ottawa and, somehow, the ‘Canes, and that’s why they did it. If a trade makes sense for us, BG will do it.

  51. likehoy says:

    gainey will top it lol. Grabovski + bouillon + 1st rounder for brian campbell and clarke mcarthur.

  52. likehoy says:

    ottawa clearly came out on top on this trade…kudos to brian murray. Eaves never plays…he’s always injured and stillman will help them avoid being a one line team.

  53. coutNY says:

    Stillman hasn’t been the picture of wellness this year… But overall your right, Stillman will add some offense over what they’ve been getting from Eaves. I see more of the deal with Commodor because they got a tough stay at home defenseman into to combat the western divisions big Offensive cores.

    The downside for them is will they end up like Tampa once they won’t have the ability to sign at least some of the FA’s including the 2 they just traded for?

  54. Les-Habitants says:

    As been mentioned in other threads, this is a great pickup for the Sens who address 2 of their bigger holes (secondary scoring & toughness on the blue-line)

    Great trade for 2 needed rentals, and they didn’t lose that much to get them.

  55. The Teacher says:

    I agree, it is a steal if you are thinking about this year.

    Eaves does have potential, but has been injured.

    Corvo is signed for this year and next and he’ll help out Carolina’s PP which is 17th in the league.

    Stillman greatly enhances the Sens offence by giving them a viable point getter on the second line. I wonder if the Sens will break up line #1 or try Fisher and Stillman to start?

    Commodore is slow but gives them a physical edge. I am hoping for us to exploit Commodore every chance we get, especially with our speed.

  56. saskhab says:

    Doubt they’d be that dumb, but there wouldn’t be anything slower moving than a Richardson-Commodore pairing in the NHL.

    BTW, Commodore really should wear #64.

  57. showey47 says:

    This may look good this year, but next year the sens have 30 million tied up in 4 players not including redden who is a ufa. Plus another 7 million in 2 goalies. Welcome to the next tampa bay lightning

  58. saskhab says:

    On the surface, plugging Stillman into the second line doesn’t do a lot, but they’ll likely try and have him play with Heatley and Spezza while putting Alfie with Neil and Fisher to create the balanced attack they desire. A Stillman-Fisher-Neil line isn’t really that threatening, so they have to be thinking of splitting up the big line to spread the scoring and this allows that to happen.

    They give up a lot of mobility and a good first pass on the blueline… Corvo will do well in Carolina. They need that element there. Eaves was a non-factor for Ottawa but a potential future top 9 forward for the Canes.

    I think the Sens might still want another top 6 forward.


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