White, Prusek on way out?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:11 AM ET

Todd White and Martin Prusek could be filling out change of address cards by today.

Neither player has been extended a qualifying offer by the Senators with the deadline looming tomorrow and sources told the Sun that GM John Muckler is trying to move both during the NHL draft festivities today at the Westin Hotel.

Muckler and assistant GM Peter Chiarelli maintained yesterday that decisions haven't been made yet on White and Prusek. But they've also spread the word that both players are available and they're waiting on offers.

It's believed the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers have both shown an interest in White, while Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey has made a call about Prusek because the club is going into the season without a backup goaltender.

If neither is traded by tomorrow at 5 p.m., then White won't be given a qualifying offer and Prusek will likely be brought to camp with the intent to deal him at some point.

"We've got some decisions left to make," Muckler said at a news conference yesterday.

The Senators have given a qualifying offer to defenceman Anton Volchenkov, but he has accepted a one-year, $1.2-million (all terms US) offer from Lada Togliatti of the Russian Super League. An out clause can be invoked before Sept. 1 to rejoin the Sens.

"Anton, like all Russian players, has the opportunity to play in his home country for very good money," said agent J.P. Barry of IMG Hockey. "It is customary for players to work out these deals now because training camps start in August.

FIGHTING DEADLINE

"We're going to speak with Ottawa and see if we're able to get something worked out before the deadline."

Muckler wasn't amused.

"It doesn't matter if it's a bargaining ploy ... we only have so much money we're going to be able to pay people," said Muckler. "We want to have Anton on our team and we've treated him very well. We're going to make a long-term commitment to some players and others we're going to give one-year contracts. But if we're going to make a commitment to those players, we want them to make a commitment to us."

The Senators are focusing today on trying to decide who to take with the No. 9 pick in the entry draft. Carey Price, a goalie from the Tri-City Americans ranked No. 1 in North America, is a definite possibility.

The club is also looking at two defencemen: Marc Staal of the Sudbury Wolves and Ryan Parent of the Guelph Storm.

"I've been in Ottawa six years and this might be one of the thinnest drafts I've seen since I've been here," said Frank Jay, who was promoted to director of amateur scouting yesterday, while player personnel director Anders Hedberg became head of pro scouting.

"It's pretty good in the top 15, but then it drops off significantly. We got really lucky being able to pick in the No. 9 spot."

STAYING ... AND GOING

Status of Senators' restricted free agents heading into today's NHL entry draft:

PLAYERS GIVEN QUALIFYING OFFERS: Chris Kelly, Ray Emery, Martin Havlat, Marian Hossa, Brian McGrattan, Christoph Schubert, Jason Spezza, Antoine Vermette, Anton Volchenkov and Chris Neil.

PLAYERS WHO DIDN'T: Todd White, Charlie Stephens, Martin Prusek, Josh Langfeld and Denis Hamel.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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