Forget the anger, the rage, and the shock of the trade. Alex Burrows, the former Canucks agitator, is now an Ottawa Senator. Where does he fit into the lineup?
Pierre Dorion made a big splash Monday by acquiring Alex Burrows from the Vancouver Canucks. It wasn’t quite the splash the Senators’ fan base had been salivating over before the trade deadline on March 1st, but it caused a tidal wave of negativity about the state of the organization. But enough about that. What’s done is done. The question becomes: where does Burrows fit on this Senators team going into the playoffs?
Alex Burrows, 35, will no doubt slot into Ottawa’s top 9 right away. Bobby Ryan’s most recent injury left a gaping hole on the team’s right-wing (yes, pun very much intended). Acquiring Burrows allows the Senators to roll with Stone, Burrows, Pyatt, and Neil on the wing, at least until Ryan is healthy enough to play again. Even with Ryan likely coming back into the lineup before the start of the playoffs, Burrows gives Boucher a solid depth option, allowing him to play Pyatt on the fourth line where he belongs instead of dressing Chris Neil, only to see him play 3 minutes a night. Best case, it allows Boucher to roll with four lines instead three. Tom Pyatt, despite receiving some criticism since coming over, has played a valuable role in the bottom six this season for the team. He is a penalty killing specialist and a very responsible player in his own end. Ryan’s injury potentially opened the door for Boucher to be overly reliant on depth players like Pyatt, and make similar lineup gaffs as his predecessors, Dave Cameron and Paul MacLean.
Another takeaway from the acquisition has to be Burrows’ record in the playoffs. He is a known pest against other teams and usually plays his best after the regular season has ended. The Senators’ acquiring Phaneuf, Brassard, and now Burrows seems to indicate a desire to win now, however they are missing at least one big-name player. Yes, Phaneuf and Brassard have had positive impacts in their tenure here, but to give up what the Senators did to acquire all three, you better be fairly confident that the team can at least make the conference finals in the next few years.
This move of course makes Curtis Lazar expendable, if he wasn’t already. Dorion has whiffed on whether or not he is looking to trade Lazar before the deadline, saying he wasn’t actively shopping him but would be willing to listen to offers. It’s hard to see where a player like Lazar fits into the lineup moving forward beyond this year. The entire bottom six is likely to see significant turnover next year, as Wingels, Neil, Pageau, Pyatt, Kelly, Lazar, and Dzingel are all currently without contracts beyond this season.
Burrows also clears up the expansion draft picture a little bit, although that could have been accomplished at a significantly lower cost. Make no mistake, his character is not only questionable, but objectionable. I cannot and will not defend some of the things he has done in the past, and that’s a hard pill to swallow for most Senators fans it seems. Nonetheless, he is a part of our team now and nothing we do will change that. We can only hope that his acquisition helps to fuel a deep playoff run this year for the Senators. If that comes to fruition, then maybe this trade will start to look better moving forward. Maybe.