Salary cap might squeeze out Redden

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 2:40 PM ET

You'd never want to do it. In the old days, you probably never would.

But if you're the Senators, it seems you really have no choice. The new NHL is forcing you into a tough decision. It's making you trade a star player.

And if you're the Senators, you have to realize that player is Wade Redden.

As it stands, you have too many players who are either in or are falling into the $5 million per season range. You have to make sure you lock up your best, Marian Hossa. You also have to sign Zdeno Chara to a long-term deal before he can test the unrestricted free agent market next summer. In Chara, you have a commodity no one else does -- a talented 6-foot-9, 260-pounder who may be the toughest defenceman to play against. He can't be allowed to escape.

You might consider moving Daniel Alfredsson, but he is your captain and leader. Besides, you're going to need him to help Hossa on the right side when Martin Havlat prices himself out of the equation this season.

Losing an elite blueliner like Redden would hurt, especially on the power play. But maybe young Anton Volchenkov, who also plays the left point, can be groomed to fill that role.

Either way, you have limited options. With four players making $20 million, that leaves about $1 mil each for the remainder of your roster. And you still have a goalie, Jason Spezza, Chris Phillips and a number of other key guys to think of -- plus trade deadline, over-the- hump acquisitions and the fact that next year's cap may actually be less than $39 million.

No wonder GM John Muckler was strangely non-commital when asked if he was going to renegotiate long- term deals for Chara and Redden before they can test the open market. Muckler knows he can't.

He's also aware of this spot that he's in -- waiting too long to trade a guy like Redden diminishes what he could get in return. Moving him too soon could cost the Senators a chance at the Stanley Cup.

FROM THE PRESSBOX: Finally, there's talk the Senators may do to Bryan Smolinski what they should have done in the first place -- and that's bid him farewell. It still boggles the mind they opted for the skilled-but-too-laid-back Smolinski and his $2.25-million salary over Todd White. If White isn't as talented as Smolinski, he's close. He was also the lone Senator to live in Ottawa year round and he tirelessly represented the team in the community. Throw in that he makes less than half what Smolinski does and gives at least twice as much of himself on the ice, and the move was as head-spinning as a Havlat deke ... Eric Lindros has just signed up to play eight games this season against Chara and Volchenkov? The guy's not right in the head ... Another one of those masochistic attention-seekers bolted on to the Frank Clair Stadium turf in the final minutes of Thursday's game, running the length of the field and halfway back before he was apprehended by security. Wisely, he steered clear of the team benches and specifically Renegades equipment man Greg Batty, who earlier this season made a hard tackle on a similarly rambunctious fan. "They don't go to my side of the field anymore," said Batty ... Korey Banks should soon be feeling the same way. After eight games and seven interceptions, the Renegades outspoken DB said he has re-evaluated that goal of 10 picks he told the Sun before the season. "I'm going for 20," Banks said amid the euphoria of the team's third straight win. When told this, coach Joe Paopao responded: "He aimed too low with his number. To have the year he's having, it seems the ball is a magnet. Good for him, good for us." ... The deal that makes partners of Renegades owners Bernie Glieberman and Bill Smith was signed and made official yesterday.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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