Hindsight being 20/20, most would call last spring’s Ben Bishop-for-Cory Conacher swap a big win for Tampa Bay.
While Bishop — the NHL’s tallest netminder — has thrived in Tampa Bay and played himself into Team USA Olympic consideration, Conacher has struggled to produce in Ottawa and has just five points through 28 games this year.
Despite this, the guy who orchestrated the trade says he’s pleased.
“When [Conacher] came up [to the Lightning], he was a pretty good player for them,” Sens GM Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Sun. “Right or wrong, we have a couple of players who are playing ahead of him, and he hasn’t had the full time, ice time and played on the top line very much here. And that affects everybody. Quite often it’s about who you get a chance to play with and what role and you get on a team.
“But I have no problem. The trade was made for the right reasons.”
Murray said the deal was driven by the fact he had three good goalies — Bishop, Robin Lehner and Craig Anderson — and that Lenher was the club’s future No. 1 while Anderson the incumbent, and under contract. With Bishop set to hit restricted free agency last summer, Murray said the move made with Tampa was the best he could’ve made and is “happy” with the results.
According to TSN’s Ian Mendes, the Sens GM had a bigger target in mind:
I can tell you with a great deal of authority that the Senators were pursuing a trade with the Flyers near the deadline that would have seen Ben Bishop traded to Philadelphia for Sean Couturier. That was the Senators first option and it looked like it may happen right up until 12 noon on deadline day.
The Flyers had even claimed centre Adam Hall off waivers right around the deadline, making the Sens believe they were ready to part with Couturier under the right circumstances.
But once the Flyers got cold feet, Murray had to look at his other options and he circled back to the Lightning.
Mendes adds there was another deal on the table with Edmonton, which would’ve landed Ryan Jones in Ottawa.