Hossa, Havlat core issues

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

TORONTO -- The NHL's new collective bargaining agreement isn't going to help keep the Senators together.

While the Sun reported last week defencemen Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara can become unrestricted free agents after next season, the bad news doesn't stop there because wingers Marian Hossa and Martin Havlat will be unrestricted free agents the following year.

Hossa will qualify for unrestricted status by virtue of the fact he will be 28 years old while Havlat will have seven years in the league. Tampa Bay's Brad Richards will be in a similar situation.

"Everybody has been talking about what a huge CBA victory the owners have scored over the players, but I would be concerned when I look at the age (players have to be to qualify for) free agency. It's like the league said they don't care if teams are able to keep their players or not, they just wanted the cap," a league source said yesterday.

"I know teams are going to say they won't have the money to spend on free agents, but that just means the players might move around for less money. A team like Ottawa should be looking at long-term deals for guys like Havlat, Hossa, Redden and Chara if they want a chance to keep their team together."

And, sources say, under the new CBA both Hossa and Havlat will have the right to arbitration this summer, which means the Senators could be in for a battle as they try to get two of their top right wingers under contract before training camp begins.


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