Sens hope to Ward off claims

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:17 PM ET

The Senators sent four players to their Binghamton farm club in the AHL yesterday.

It remains to be seen if they will all make it there.

There's no problem with youngsters Patrick Eaves, a right winger, and goaltender Billy Thompson, but forward Steve Martins and defenceman Lance Ward had to be placed on waivers because of their pro experience.

The Senators will know today at noon if they have been claimed by another club and the betting is Ward will be picked up.

Yesterday's moves left the Senators with 23 players in camp (including injured winger Vaclav Varada) heading into tonight's meeting with the Canadiens at the Corel Centre (there were 350 tickets left as of yesterday afternoon).

The Senators intend on keeping just 20 players for the regular season.

"We're going to have to take a gamble and waive a couple of guys who probably played well enough to hang around a little longer," said Senators coach Bryan Murray.

What happens with Ward could affect decisions on the blue line down the road.

If the Senators lose Ward, their depth on the blue line starts to be compromised. The remaining roster decision on defence is now between Christoph Schubert and Andrej Meszaros. Schubert has to clear waivers to go to Binghamton and Meszaros doesn't, so if Ward is snapped up today, the Senators might not want to risk losing Schubert and the rest of their depth.

MINOR ADJUSTMENT?

Meszaros, 19, could wind up going to Binghamton simply because he doesn't have to clear waivers (sorry, kid, but in today's NHL, the best performance doesn't always win out).

The rest of the roster seems to have worked itself out. With the Senators' vow to be tougher this season, it would be hard to see them sending down winger Brian McGrattan, who set a record with 551 penalty minutes in the AHL last year.

That leaves Chris Kelly and Denis Hamel to fight over Varada's spot on the roster until he's ready to return from his knee injury. He could begin skating next week.

Either Kelly or Hamel, who both have to clear waivers, will be headed for Bingo at the end of the weekend with the other getting his ticket punched when Varada returns.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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