Sens-ible situation

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:30 PM ET

If the Senators wanted a glimpse of what life would be like without Wade Redden, they got it during the 10-game stretch he missed earlier this season.

While the Senators didn't go into a massive losing skid with one of their top blueliners sidelined with a sprained knee, their power play suffered greatly. That's all changed with Redden manning the point once again.

The 28-year-old defenceman has shown just how much he means to the Senators with three goals and six assists in seven games since his return to the lineup.

That's exactly why Senators GM John Muckler and assistant Peter Chiarelli have already started discussions with the agents for Redden and fellow blueliner Zdeno Chara in an attempt to keep them in the organization. Both can become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

"There hasn't been any talks lately, but that's not something I am concerning myself with or even thinking about right now," said Redden following a workout yesterday at the Bell Sensplex.

"The stuff that happens off the ice is something that is going to take care of itself and my agent (Don Meehan) will take care of. I've made it clear that it's my preference to stay in Ottawa. The organization has been great to me and I enjoy being a part of it. My focus right now is what's happening on the ice. That's where it has to be ... Hopefully, we'll be able to work everything out and get a contract done."

Had it not been for the injury, he might be the highest scoring blueliner in the NHL at the moment. He has 30 points, including seven goals, in 24 games this season.

Redden is starting to get more recognition. Team Canada executive director Wayne Gretzky selected him to play at the Olympics in Turin in February. He has emerged as one of the most skilled blueliners in the league and there are whispers he'll be a Norris Trophy candidate along with Chara.

"I knew he was a good defenceman when I got here and I knew what he could do," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "Obviously, (Redden) plays a big role for us. He's got good, offensive skills."

Redden isn't thinking about anything individually. He wants badly for the Senators to play in June and as one of the longest-serving members of the team (along with captain Daniel Alfredsson), Redden has been pleased with what he's seen.

"We've got some guys who have really stepped up and played well for us," said Redden. "You look at the way a guy like (Mike) Fisher has been playing and the way he comes to play every night. He's really stepped up on that line with (Peter) Schaefer and (Chris) Neil.

"What can you say about (goalie) Dominik Hasek? He's just been great and he's been the difference. Everybody has really stepped up and we've played well as a team."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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