Three veterans traded away in just a week, and it's not a housecleaning?
Well, according to Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray - it's not.
Leading up to the Feb. 28 trade deadline, Murray traded four-time 20-goal scorer Mike Fisher to the Nashville Predators for a first-round draft pick and a conditional draft pick before sending veteran forward Chris Kelly to the Boston Bruins for a second-rounder and Jarkko Ruutu to the Anaheim Ducks for a sixth.
That means a combined 28 goals and 29 assists this season are out the door with no production coming back, at least not for a couple of years.
Both Fisher and Kelly were Senators' draft picks and spent their entire careers in Ottawa.
And while the first- and second-round picks acquired in the Fisher and Kelly trades have a chance of turning into useful pieces for the Sens down the road, there's less chance that the sixth-rounder obtained in the Ruutu trade will pay dividends for Ottawa.
And if those three departed veterans aren't enough, there are still 10 days to go until the trade deadline and plenty of rumours swirling around that more veterans could be on their way out.
Next in line could be 12-year defenceman Chris Phillips, while could find himself in a different city come March 1. Captain Daniel Alfredsson could be the only player safe on the roster, but there's even been talk that Murray could ask him if he'd be willing to accept a trade.
Here was Dave's question to you: "Senators' GM Bryan Murray says of his approach to the trade deadline: 'I wouldn't call it a housecleaning'. What would you call it?"
And here are the answers that Dave liked best:
"Not the whole house, he's just cleaning the basement — the league's basement — getting ready to move in."
"I call it the 'Spezzafication' of the Senators—he'll be the only one left."
(another) Mike, Ottawa
"Of course, it's a housecleaning — they're cleaning house in Binghamton."
Alan, Sarnia, ON
"I would call it, 'The disproving of the theory that you can't fire 20 players so you fire the coach.' "
"I'm okay if he doesn't call it a housecleaning...as long as we can call it his 'parting gift' to us."
"I would call it, 'What the Leafs should have done years ago.' "
And Dave's reply to all:
Well, it is a housecleaning...sort of.
If the Senators don't re-sign any of their unrestricted free agents, the Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, and Brian Elliott trades mean there will be at least eight familiar faces gone from this season's lineup.
Ah, but a real housecleaning would also include the departure of the two biggest contracts, which bear the names of Jason Spezza and Sergei Gonchar, and there's little or no chance they're going anywhere.
So the plan in Ottawa is something of a forced strategy - the Senators are getting rid of the players whose contracts are expiring and, it would appear, any and all other players who can bring draft choices and save the team money.
How do they get better? Spend that money, but spend it more wisely than the $17 million bucks thrown at Gonchar last summer, and wait for the 2011 draft picks to grow whiskers.
It's hard to imagine the Senators being worse next season - it's also hard to think they'll be any better.