There were several reasons why Daniel Alfredsson decided against returning to the Ottawa Senators, the full extent of which we might never know. But the prevailing hockey reason was that Alfredsson believed the Detroit Red Wings were closer to winning a Stanley Cup than the up-and-coming Senators.
Whether that will prove to be the case remains to be seen, but Ottawa manager Bryan Murray made it clear on Monday that the franchise is looking to win a Cup, and they're looking to do it soon. In order to accomplish that goal, the team is willing to deal from their youth, via ESPN's Pierre LeBrun:
"I think we do have a good number of young people I would think other organizations would be interested in," Murray said. "We're open to talking about moving a young part or two to get the required player that we would need."
Murray stated that the Senators are looking to acquire a veteran type player and expressed a desire to add a physical forward, scoring forward and/or a puck-moving defenseman. The manager acknowledged that the club engaged in talks for the defensive player earlier this year, but couldn't find a fit. Rumors circulated that Ottawa was attempting to acquire New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, but talks ultimately fell through.
Cody Ceci was identified as a player that has eased the Senators need to find a compliment to the defense corps, which seemingly means Murray will transition his focus towards augmenting the forward group. While the club is open to moving young pieces, forward Curtis Lazar is not available via trade. Lazar was selected with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2013 Draft and shined at the World Junior Championship, registering seven points in seven games.
Murray explicitly said he will not be traded:
"We're not moving Curtis Lazar, I can tell you at this point in time. 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."
The primary focus on Ottawa over the last few weeks has revolved around their success in the draft. When Tim Murray emerged as a legitimate candidate for the Buffalo Sabres' vacant manager position, his expertise as a talent evaluator and amateur scout were identified as his key attributes as an executive. When Bryan was given a four-year extension on Monday, his talents in the draft were discussed, as were the draft talents of Tim's replacements, Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee. The point being: much has been made of the Senators stock of prospects and the club's ability to develop talent through the draft. Now, it appears as though the franchise is willing to cash-in on that future value to push for a Cup in the near future.
Of course, Ottawa expressed a similar desire to be active in the trade market in season last year. That ultimately never came to fruition. This speaks to the dilemma when making a trade: you need two to tango. But, the Senators did acquire Bobby Ryan this past offseason and did so by parting with young assets, which included forward Jakob Silfverberg. According to Murray, he and his staff are ready to leverage their youth once again.