The Senators slide has GM Bryan Murray sniffing around the NHL’s trade market for a defenceman.

The pickings are slim.

Two league executives told the Sun Monday that if the Senators are to deal for a top four defenceman then they’ll have to give up forward in return to make that happen.

“Teams want deals that are going to give them something in return,” said a league executive.

The Senators have certainly shown an interest in Rangers’ blueliner Michael Del Zotto, but if GM Glen Sather is asking for Chris Neil or defenceman Marc Methot in return then that’s likely a non-starter.

It’s believed the Senators have spoken with the Panthers about defenceman Dmitry Kulikov, but the asking price is high and there’s talk the 23-year-old is headed back to Russia a the end of this season.

Making $2.5 million, he will be a restricted free agent. He’s expected to get huge cash thrown at him by a KHL club which means it could be difficult for any team to give up a lot of assets to get a young player for the balance of the season.