Double trouble for Sens?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

The Senators are moving perilously closer to seeing what life will be like without their top two blueliners.

With the clock ticking toward Saturday's deadline for free agency, the Senators are no closer to signing 6-foot-9 defenceman Zdeno Chara and still have work to do to get veteran Wade Redden to agree to a deal.

While Redden remains closer to inking a new contract to stay in Ottawa, it's believed he and Chara would first like to see how serious a contender for the Stanley Cup the Senators appear to be.

That has left Senators GM John Muckler scrambling to try to make a deal for a veteran goaltender before both his star blueliners are allowed to hit the unrestricted free agent market on Saturday.

The Senators have a deal on the table for San Jose's Vesa Toskala, but it might be dead because winger Martin Havlat -- a key component in the transaction -- refuses to sign a multi-year contract. Muckler may also be speaking to Carolina (Martin Gerber) and Anaheim (J.S. Giguere).

It's also possible Dominik Hasek might return.

Ideally, the Senators would like to get Redden and Chara at the same price -- around $6 million per season. But Chara stands to make a lot more on the open market and Redden's value is going up, which means a deal with him has no chance of happening at the moment.

Sources say after learning defenceman Chris Pronger wants to be dealt out of Edmonton, the Oilers' interest in Redden has increased dramatically. And they've got the money -- and cap space -- to sign him.

Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. is also ready to make a pitch for Redden and Chara.

The Senators, meanwhile, could make a pitch for Vancouver defenceman Ed Jovanovski, but sources say he is inclined to go back to the U.S., with the Florida Panthers the No. 1 candidate for his services.

Another defenceman who might be in another uniform next season is Brian Pothier. Unless agent Justin Duberman lowers his demands for a long-term contract worth $2 million per year, then Pothier won't be back.

'WAIT AND SEE'

"We're just going to sit back and wait and see what happens," said Duberman, who refused to elaborate during discussions from his Chicago office. "I'm not going to make any other comments. If you want any comments, you should speak to (Muckler)."

If the Senators fail to make a trade for a goalie, it's possible they might try to sign Edmonton netminder Dwayne Roloson as a UFA. His agent, Peter Fisher, said Roloson is seeking a three-year contract and would like to return to the Oilers if a deal can be worked out.

"But at this point, (Roloson) is open to anything -- including becoming a free agent," said Fisher, who received an offer from the Oilers last week that is being discussed. "We're going to continue to talk with the Oilers and we'll see where those discussions take us. He enjoyed his time there and he'd like to go back."


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