Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Senators pickup Mike Comrie

Here's a savvy stopgap solution for Ottawa's injury woes by Senators GM John Muckler.

Mike Comrie's a player that's been much-maligned over his short NHL career, and while injuries have, to a certain extent, held him back, he is a two-time 30 goal scorer who Ottawa acquires for a player (Alexei Kaigorodov) who wouldn't ever suit up for the Senators again. Muckler has been looking for a second-line centre all season, and with Jason Spezza out the next three-to-five weeks and Mike Fisher also on the mend, Comrie should be able to put up a point-a-game pace on the team's top line.

His salary ($3-million) is considerable, but it's in the range of what Muckler would have likely taken on in other rumoured candidates (Craig Conroy and Brendan Morrison), and there's the added bonus of Comrie's youth and the chance he may sign in Ottawa in the off-season.

Is Comrie the type of player who will help the Senators win the Stanley Cup? No, no he's not. But given the way Ottawa's season has gone to this point, just getting into the playoffs with their now-ailing squad has to be the goal — and he'll definitely help in that regard. Ottawa's picked up points in five games in a row heading into tonight's game against Buffalo, and their workmanlike effort of late may finally signal the turnaround everyone's been waiting for with this team.

For Phoenix, Comrie was one of a few unrestricted free agents they'll be looking to move prior to the trade deadline, and the return of a young player who could, conceivably, rebound to play in the league at some point isn't altogether unwise. In my opinion, it would have been preferable to receive a high draft pick instead of Kaigorodov, however, as the Coyotes have already been through the 'disgruntled Russian' routine with Enver Lisin this season.

Another clown for the circus, I suppose.


At 1:55 p.m., January 03, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Comrie the type of player who will help the Senators win the Stanley Cup? No, no he's not.

So what's the point, then?

At 2:03 p.m., January 03, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

To have someone more talented than Chris Kelly to play on the first line for the next month or so, keep the team in the playoff race, and then hand things back over to Jason Spezza.

At 2:05 p.m., January 03, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

I wonder who'll sit out and/or be sent to Bingo when everyone is healthy again. Denis Hamel can't be pleased with this trade...

At 2:47 p.m., January 03, 2007, Anonymous Anshu said...

I disagree that Comrie won't potentially help the Senators win the Stanley Cup. He doesn't have to do it all by himself, he just needs to fill a role.

If he plays at a 60 points per season pace (as he's done in the past) that could very well be difference the Sens need, beyond just being an injury replacement right now.

Brian Murray had occassionally resorted to running only 3 lines in recent weeks. With Comrie added, and when Fisher and Spezza get back from injury, this shouldn't be necessary anymore.

I envision the following line combinations heading into the playoffs:


Alfredsson and Kelly could swap spots, as could Vermette and Schaefer. Depends on the line chemistry, really, but it still looks pretty good any way you draw it up.

Comrie isn't an all-star, but he doesn't have to be to make the Sens a whole lot better down the stretch.

Lets just hope Comrie doesn't turn out to be this year's Arnason. At least the team didn't give up anything to get him...

At 3:45 p.m., January 03, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I stand by my opinion that the Sens were playing better than their record indicated for a long time, so it doesn't surprise me in the least that they are now in 7th place, and ahead of the Maple Leafs. Amid the search for reasons why they are winning more than they were before, at least contemplate the idea that what your seeing is luck balancing out, and they were always this good.

(Note: The above is not directed at James, but rather some of the commentors.)

I also agree with Anshu that the right complementary players can help you win the Stanley Cup. Build around your stars, but keep in mind that the composition of the rest of the team matters a lot, too.

Lets just hope Comrie doesn't turn out to be this year's Arnason. At least the team didn't give up anything to get him...

You're almost always better off going with the Michigan Wolverine over the St. Cloud State Husky. SCSU has never one an NCAA Div I tournament game, and they clearly don't know how to win. Tyler Arneson is an 0-fer, not a Gopher.

At 6:48 p.m., January 03, 2007, Anonymous Darren said...

I've got Comrie in my pool, so this is great news for me.

At 12:05 p.m., January 04, 2007, Anonymous ken said...

A gutless wonder who cares more about his own stats than he does about his team?

This pickup hasn't increased Ottawa's chances of winning the Cup at all.

At 4:15 p.m., January 04, 2007, Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Comrie and Alfie could have some nice chem together as Mike can certainly think the game as well as anyone.

But for him to play with Alfie would mean he's playing tough min at ES and I don't think that's gonna happen.

I'd imagine that down the middle Fisher and Spezza get the tough matchups and the Sens hope that Vermette and Comrie find some commonalities.

As for what I think of the trade overall...well it was the one big move they're gonna make so at least they said shag the money and made it at a point where Comrie gets 40 odd games to find his niche with the Sens.

He's never gonna carry the mail for you but he can put up points and while you're hoping Spezza and Fisher saws off with say the Sabres top two lines...maybe comrie makes the difference against the sabres third line.

And of course you also have to look at what he's costing both dollars and assets wise. Being and Oilers and a WC fan I'd take Conroy 8 days of the week over Comrie but there's a lot to be said for just how little the Sens paid for Mike and there's only so many dummies like Jayne and Mike Barnett who'd move Mike to save 1.5 mill and all they get in return is a problematic russian.

but now the sens have a lot of time to try out different line combos and see where Mike fits best.

I think the pressure is now on the thrash as tehy need a pivot for their top six.

At 12:21 a.m., January 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When all Senators are healthy, Comrie will make the Senators a truly dominant team, because of two points you guys keep on overlooking:
1) Even with the acquisition of Comrie, the second best centre on the Senators when all are healthy is -- by far -- Antoine Vermette;
2) Spezza's absence has clearly shown that Heatley is wasted on the same line as him. Spezza is too dominant a player, he controls too much of the flow of play, to leave space for Heatly to do what he does best -- play a multifaceted game. Spezza, Heatley and Alfreddsson is a dominant line, of course, but by dividing the lines up differently the Senators can have four powerful lines.

1) Spezza is the best player on the team but what he needs above all is a true finisher. The finisher does not have to be a fast skater, because Spezza can hold onto the puck in traffic so well. The logical finisher for him is Hamel, who has some of the best hands on the team but is slow. Their partnership in Binghamton was a dominant one. To compensate, the Spezza line would need a very fast and defensively responsible winger. Put the intelligent Kelly on Spezza's left wing.

2. Alfredsson and Vermette will be a better, and faster, combination than Alfie and Comrie. They will need someone who can pass and grind along the boards. So the winger has to be Peter Shaeffer. This would be a great two-way line.

3. Put Comrie with Heatley on the right and Schubert on the left; Schubert would supply the defensive responsibility and the two big bodies on the wings will terrify defenders into conceding a lot of space for Comrie. Heatley would be so dominant, and he is such a good playmaker (take a gander at his season one numbers with the Thrashers) that one can expect his numbers to at least equal those he had with Spezza.

4. A great energy line with a lot of all-round toughness, speed and grit:
Fisher at centre with Eaves/McCammon and Neil on the wings. Start every game with this line, and the defensive corps of the other team will take notice. Periodically fit in McGrattan for Eaves and the opposition will wilt under the pressure.

Fill in with McCammon wherever speed and heart is needed -- you may want to play him in place of Schubert, and put the latter back on defense, where he can put his big shot to better use.

At even strength, roll all four lines and destroy the opposition.

At 11:55 a.m., January 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to spread the offence over 4 lines is what cost Bryan Murray and the sens in last year's playoffs.

Dominant? doubt it.

At 2:39 p.m., January 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Trying to spread the offence over 4 lines is what cost Bryan Murray and the sens in last year's playoffs."

That may be true, but last year he tried to spread offence by moving Alfredssson around. The key is to move Spezza around. What is more, this year, finally, Vermette is getting the ice time he deserves. Heatley, Spezza, Alfie could still be reunited on the power play.


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