Sens on money in trading Bonk

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 2:15 PM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Trading Radek Bonk could not have come at a better time for the Senators.

The 28-year-old centre was disappointing in several post-season appearances, and, quite frankly, wasn't worth a $3.5-million (all terms US) qualifying offer.

So instead of losing his rights and receiving nothing in return, the Senators shipped Bonk to Los Angeles for the 77th overall pick (Shawn Weller) in yesterday's draft.

The Kings then sent Bonk and goaltender Cristobal Huet to Montreal for goaltender Mathieu Garon and the 95th pick in the draft.

"It didn't surprise me that he ended up with (the Canadiens)," said Senators GM John Muckler. "I guess they wanted a guy like him in the middle and this is a guy who will fill their needs."

The money the Senators will save by dealing Bonk could very well go to goaltender Dominik Hasek, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on Thursday.

The 39-year-old Hasek, a Stanley Cup winner with Detroit in 2002, is rumoured to be on the verge of signing with Ottawa for a base salary of between $2.5-$3 million for next season.

So while the Senators didn't receive a front-line NHLer in return for Bonk, the team's third-overall pick in the 1994 draft, they did pick up a prospect in Weller and, should they sign Hasek, they will have turned a proven playoff bust into a proven post-season performer.

It's a move that could make Bonk worth more than the Senators had bargained for.

ALL EYES ON YZERMAN: Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman can expect a call from Wayne Gretzky in the next few weeks. While Gretzky, the executive director of Team Canada's entry in the World Cup of Hockey, is confident Yzerman will be fully recovered from an eye injury he suffered in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Nepean native's status remains a concern. With D Rob Blake also recovering from shoulder surgery, Canadian officials will meet later this month to discuss bringing a four-man taxi squad to training camp at the Corel Centre on Aug. 19. "I just got back from Europe and I haven't had a chance to speak with (Yzerman) about his health yet," said Gretzky yesterday. "I know that with Steve Yzerman this is probably going to go right down to just before the tournament. I know the decision that he makes is going to be in the best interests of the team. I don't have any concerns about that." Gretzky said Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier, Philadelphia's Keith Primeau, Florida's Jay Bouwmeester and Toronto's Bryan McCabe will all get consideration should the club be forced into replacing the injured veterans.

A LAUS FOR WORDS: Former Panthers tough guy Paul Laus confirmed he met with Senators coach Bryan Murray about a job on Ottawa's staff last Tuesday. Despite having no actual coaching experience, Laus does fit Murray's criteria of wanting a former player on his staff. Laus, who was forced to retire after having wrist surgery, wouldn't mind trying his hand at coaching. "I'm definitely interested and why wouldn't I be," said Laus. "I had Bryan as a coach and I loved him as a coach. As our GM for so long, I got to know him a lot, and he's a man with great knowledge of the game." It's believed Murray has also held talks with former Ottawa captain Brad Shaw, former Panthers centre Brian Skrudland and Senators winger Jody Hull, who worked as a player/assistant in Binghamton last year. "There's lots of guys inquiring," said Murray. "Paul is a strong person who played the game hard, and I think the players respect that. He's got a presence in the room. He speaks well and he presents himself very well. I think that's important. Presentation to the players is always the key and respect is a very big key." Murray also met with Senators assistant Perry Pearn on Tuesday, but it's believed Binghamton coach John Paddock is the frontrunner for a job on Murray's staff. The likely destination for Pearn would either be Florida, reuniting him with former Senators coach Jacques Martin, or Pittsburgh.


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