Havlat set to Czech out?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

While Ray Emery has agreed to a deal with the Senators, Martin Havlat took another step closer to the door.

The Senators' backup goalie didn't file for arbitration yesterday at 5 p.m and agreed to a one-year, $925,000 contract.

However, Havlat, along with wingers Chris Neil, Antoine Vermette, Peter Schaefer and centre Chris Kelly have decided to go to the NHL's Kangaroo Court.

While GM John Muckler will negotiate with Vermette, Schaefer, Neil and Kelly, sources say talks continue to try to move Havlat to a Western Conference team.

It's believed the San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks are among the teams trying to work out a deal with Muckler.

A furious Havlat, who is determined to test the free-agent market, told agent Allan Walsh that he will not sign more than a one-year contract with any team. That hurts Muckler's attempts to trade him.

The Senators have already spent about $35 million on salaries for next season.

After forking out $4.5 million to Jason Spezza, $6.5 million to Wade Redden, $3.7 million to Martin Gerber and $2.5 million to Joe Corvo, the Senators could find out that Havlat is too rich for their blood.

While Havlat made $2.6 million last season, Muckler must have cringed when he learned the Carolina Hurricanes gave winger Eric Cole a three-year, $12-million deal yesterday.

The $4-million mark is expected to be Havlat's starting point when he goes to arbitration.

The spending won't stop there. Vermette scored 20 goals and is going to be seeking a hefty raise, while Schaefer is one of the league's most valuable players along the boards and is only one season from unrestricted free agency.

Neil and Kelly might simply be trying to protect themselves to make sure they get the right deal.

With assistant GM Peter Chiarelli getting ready to take over in Boston, several agents told the Sun they have been negotiating with Kevin Billet, who worked with Muckler while he was GM of the Buffalo Sabres. Billet is going to take over for Chiarelli when he officially leaves on July 15, but will not carry the title of assistant GM.

There are whispers the Senators are one of several teams looking at free-agent centre Yanic Perreault, who played last season in Nashville and would serve the club well in a fourth-line role. Perreault is also considered a top faceoff man.


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