December 11, 2005
Sens should consider Nolan
By Bruce Garrioch
CALGARY -- Can veteran winger Owen Nolan help the Senators?
While John Muckler is in no hurry to make changes to his lineup after losing winger Martin Havlat (shoulder surgery) for at least four months, the Senators GM admits that all could change in pretty short order.
The Senators are likely to add a body or two for their playoff run and if they're not seriously interested in moving someone from their roster, perhaps signing Nolan, an unrestricted free agent, is a step they should take.
Nolan, who is recovering from back and knee injuries that plagued him in Toronto, is getting ready to make a comeback and the word he's ready to sign with an NHL team so he can start playing in January.
In fact, Nolan might be the healthiest he's been in years after taking a full 18 months of rest -- a good reason for a team to take control of his rehabilitation in the next couple of weeks to get him ready for action.
The word out of Nolan's camp is the gritty winger would love the opportunity to join the Senators in hopes of winning a Stanley Cup.
Nolan, however, is also drawing interest from the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks, the team he spent parts of eight seasons with before being dealt to the Maple Leafs.
The Senators lost a lot of speed with Havlat out of the lineup and even if Nolan isn't as fast as Havlat, the former Leaf is a good skater who'd adapt to the new NHL pretty quickly.
What's holding up a deal for Nolan is a contract grievance that needs to be settled with the Maple Leafs, who held back the $5.6-million US option on his 2004-05 deal.
The two sides disagree over when Nolan suffered a knee injury.
Just imagine the way Nolan would be able to help out if the Senators got into a tough playoff series with the Leafs.
Even if signing him isn't on Muckler's radar screen at the moment, it's worth considering.