Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators' road to the postseason
will be a bumpy one after they learned last week they will be without with
reigning Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson for the remainder of
the season with a torn Achilles tendon.
While the Sens won't be able to find someone who can replace everything that
Karlsson brought to the table, there are a number of defensemen potentially
available who the Sens can target as the trade deadline approaches and more
teams begin to drop out of playoff contention.
Here is a look at three blue-liners who could be on the Sens' radar:
KEITH YANDLE - PHOENIX COYOTES (2-8-10 in 16 games this season)
It's not often one of the league's most dynamic offensive defensemen, who is
just 26 and has plenty of upside, would be made available, but in Yandle's case
there have been some rumblings that perhaps the Coyotes would look to shop the
two-time NHL All-Star. Yandle's offensive ability isn't quite at Karlsson's
level, but he would certainly help make up a lot of the offense that the Sens
are now without from the back end.
A great puck-mover who eats up plenty of ice time, particularly on the man-
advantage, he seems to have lost the top defenseman billing in the desert to
up-and-comer Oliver Ekman-Larsson, which would explain perhaps why his name has
been tossed around in potential trade talks.
Yandle is signed through the 2015-16 season with the Coyotes at an annual
average salary of $5.25 million, but he does not have a no-trade clause. His
name also has been linked lately to the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers.
JAY BOUWMEESTER - CALGARY FLAMES (3-4-7 in 14 games this season)
Bouwmeester is another blue-liner who has seen his name thrown around the
rumor mill, although, unlike Yandle, it makes a bit more sense.
It's no secret Bouwmeester has not lived up to the expectations the Flames had
for him when they acquired him from the Florida Panthers in 2009, and if
Calgary ever finally opted to go down the rebuild path, then Bouwmeester is
likely going to be among the first to be jettisoned.
Bouwmeester can sometimes be a liability in his own end and his offensive game
isn't quite at the same level as before he joined Calgary, but he does log a
ton of minutes and would be able to step right into a top-two role.
Bouwmeester has a no-movement clause and a cap hit of $6.68 million this season
and next, but would probably cost the Senators fewer assets to acquire compared
to the aforementioned Yandle.
LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - NEW YORK ISLANDERS (0-4-4 in 6 games this season)
If the Senators are seeking a more temporary and financially viable option,
then Visnovsky fits that bill.
The 36-year-old journeyman defenseman is only two years removed from a career
season in which he notched 18 goals and 68 points with the Ducks and is still
regarded as one of the league's most dependable offensive defensemen and can
still log plenty of minutes as he's shown in the early part of this season.
Visnovsky carries a $5.6 million cap hit this season although his take-home
salary is significantly less than that. He's also an unrestricted free agent at
the end of the season, so there are no long-term ramifications to worry about
in case things don't pan out the way the Sens hope.
The asking price for Visnovsky should be relatively reasonable and could fall
even more as the Islanders start to slip out of the playoff race.
The Sports Network