Sens Wade out of trouble

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Senators GM John Muckler made headway yesterday, getting blueliner Wade Redden inked to a two-year, $13-million (all terms US) contract. Now, one last pitch to Zdeno Chara is all that's left before free agency begins.

While the Senators will announce the signing of Redden during an 11 a.m. news conference today at Scotiabank Place, there is lots of work left to be done to keep Chara from hitting the free-agent market tomorrow.

Sure, Redden could have made more by becoming a free agent, but as reported by the Sun yesterday, he wanted to remain with the Senators.

Redden, who was at a charity golf tournament in Halifax yesterday, couldn't be reached for comment.

"Hopefully, they will turn our attention to us now," said Chara's agent, Matt Keator, after learning of Redden's signing. "There's nothing to say we can't talk past July 1 because he'd still like to be with the Senators."

The word is the Kings, Rangers, Maple Leafs, Canucks, Wild, Panthers and Bruins are ready to make a pitch for Chara.

CHARA GONE?

It's believed Muckler is prepared to offer Chara a similar deal to the one Redden received. That won't be good enough because Chara will likely command between $7 million and $8 million on the open market.

For today, at least, the Senators will focus on the good news that they were able to keep Redden.

The Senators found out how much Redden meant to the club when he was out with a knee injury for 10 games last December and during a seven-game stretch when Redden was spending time with his late mother, Pat, in March.

"This is a great news," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "It would be tough without him. He's obviously one of the best defencemen in the league and he means a lot to this team. We know it's important to have a guy like him back.

"I know he's not one of the flashiest guys, but with the new rules he's really effective. He's definitely one of the top defencemen in the league. There's no question about it. I'm glad we're able to keep him for another two years. That's important."

Added defenceman Chris Phillips: "This is a great step in continuing the success of our team, on and off the ice."

Alfredsson is hopeful the Senators can keep Chara as well.

OILERS LOSE OUT

"Hopefully, but I guess we will know what's going to happen here in the next couple of days because Chara plays a big role for us as well."

Redden's signing will not go over well in Edmonton. Sources say the Oilers coveted the 29-year-old and were going to make the Alberta native a pitch if he had become an unrestricted free agent -- especially in light of the fact Oilers star blueliner Chris Pronger has asked to be dealt.


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