The Senators might try to strike gold on the NHL's trade market before training camp begins.
While Senators GM John Muckler has most of his roster in place as the Sept. 14 start of camp draws closer, sources say it's anything but completely set and he and could be making a pitch for Boston Bruins left winger P.J. Axelsson.
A former teammate of Daniel Alfredsson with Frolunda during the lockout, Axelsson also played on a line with the Senators captain when Sweden won Olympic gold in Turin last February.
Still, it's doubtful the Bruins will trade Axelsson -- who recently signed a three-year, $1.85 million (all figures US) deal with Boston this summer -- because he has played a big role with the club.
It's believed the Senators are willing to offer a defenceman (possibly Anton Volchenkov and his $1.3 million salary) in return because Ottawa may not have room for the eight blueliners they've signed.
But if the Senators are going to make this kind of move, they need to dump some salary to make room for Axelsson's contract. The club's payroll has surpassed the $41-million mark, but it should be noted some of those deals include minor-league salaries, which means the Senators do have some breathing room against the $44-million salary cap.
The Senators are in need of help on the left side. The club re-signed winger Peter Schaefer to a four-year, $8.4-million contract this summer, but he'll be the only proven player on the left side if the club decides to use Dany Heatley on the right this season.
A glance at the club's depth chart indicates centre Chris Kelly could be moved to the left wing, while it's believed coach Bryan Murray may also consider using right winger Patrick Eaves on the left side as well.
With Alexei Kaigorodov headed to camp, the Senators would like to have two balanced scoring lines. That's why Axelsson would be the perfect fit on the No. 2 unit.
He's a skilled player who had 10 goals and 28 assists in 57 games with a lousy Bruins team last year. Axelsson, Alfredsson and Sami Pahlsson formed one of the top lines for the Swedes at the Olympics. It just so happens Axelsson and Alfredsson grew up together in Goteborg and are good friends off the ice.
Volchenkov is still young, but his role on the club could diminish because Sophomore Andrej Meszaros proved last season he deserves to be in the club's top four. If that's the case, Volchenkov's salary would be on the high side for a No. 5 defenceman.