Muckler weighs options

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Senators GM John Muckler only had one option.

With an NHL draft -- being held in Ottawa no less -- 10 restricted free agents and a salary cap to worry about, ensuring the Senators have a No. 1 goalie in place was a top priority for Muckler.

So following the Senators' press conference yesterday to announce plans for the upcoming season, Muckler planned to renew the $2.28-million (all terms US) option on 40-year-old goaltender Dominik Hasek.

"We've got to pick up the option and we're going to do that later (last night). I've spoken with his agent (Ritch Winter) and Dominik is ready to go. He's excited to play and that's what we wanted to hear," Muckler told the Sun.

"We're looking forward to getting Dominik into camp. He's got to come in here and show that he can play at a top level again. I think he can. That's why he's coming back. He wants to show people that he can lead this team to a Stanley Cup."

And with that, Muckler could turn his attention to other pressing matters, like what to do about those 10 restricted free agents who must be tendered qualifying offers by Thursday's deadline.

WHITE DONE AS SENATOR?

While Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher, Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, Chris Neil, Anton Volchenkov, Antoine Vermette and Josh Langfeld will all receive offers, the future of local product Todd White is in doubt.

"I'm not going say one way or another which way we're going to go," Muckler said of the 30-year-old centre, whose production dropped off significantly during the 2003-04 season in which he had 29 points in 53 games. "That's a decision that will be made later in the week."

Backup goalie Martin Prusek, who is scheduled to make $710,600, also needs a qualifying offer. It's expected he'll get one, but he will likely be dealt so Ottawa can promote Ray Emery from Binghamton.

Sources say the Canadiens are looking for a backup and are interested in Prusek because Cristobal Huet -- acquired from the Kings last summer -- is out until January with torn ligaments in his knee.

"I would think Ray Emery is going to get a chance to push for the No. 1 job in training camp. Dominik Hasek is going to be the No. 1, but Emery is probably going to get as much of a chance to play in the exhibition season as Hasek," said Muckler.

The Senators also have decisions to make on unrestricted free-agents Peter Bondra and Curtis Leschyshyn. Muckler, who told the Sun last week he won't buy out any player currently under contract to the team, said he will speak with both to find out what their plans are for next season.

"I want to see what they want to do and what kind of money they're looking for. If they're expecting to make a million dollars, then it's probably going to be no thanks right away. I want to see where these two guys are at," said Muckler.


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