Deal no cents for Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Eugene Melnyk says none of the Senators should expect the same treatment as Rick DiPietro ... not when we're talking about a 15-year contract worth $67.5 million.

Melnyk raised his eyebrows at the long-term deal given to the goaltender by Isles owner Charles Wang.

"That's the way the New York Islanders do business and the New York Islanders can decide how they're going to spend their money," said Melnyk. "If they want to give someone 15 years guaranteed, then they can decide how they're going to spend their money. That's not something we're going to be doing in Ottawa."

Melnyk said he was surprised by the news, but doesn't think those types of deals will become a trend .

"When you first hear about it, you kind of start scratching your head and thinking about whether a 15- year deal is the best thing or not," said Melnyk. "I thought five years was a long time. I really think this is something that is out of the ordinary and you're not going to see a lot of it."

While the Senators owner is excited about the opening of training camp with medicals today at Scotiabank Place, he isn't about to proclaim this club a Stanley Cup champion ... yet.

Eight players who finished the season with the Senators last year won't be back.

"I think we'll be competitive," said Melnyk as he prepared to tee off in the Bell/Senators charity golf classic at The Marshes in Kanata.

"Every team starts with the goal of making the playoffs, getting to the Stanley Cup final and winning the championship. We have the same goal as everybody else. I'm excited about the team we've got and I'm excited about the changes we made during the off-season.

"There were changes and some of the changes were made as a result of the new system."

Melnyk has promised he will do whatever it takes to win the Cup and that's why the club has a $42-million (all figures US) payroll. Defenceman Wade Redden returned on a two-year, $13-million deal, while goalie Martin Gerber accepted a three-year, $11.1-million contract as an unrestricted free agent.

The biggest loss was Zdeno Chara, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Boston Bruins.

Melnyk believes he did everything in his power to try to keep Chara. He invited the free agent to his ranch in Ocala, Fla. for a visit and spoke with him on the telephone several times, but couldn't get an asking price out of Chara, who signed a five-year, $37.5-million contract with the Bruins on July 1.

"Obviously, you're disappointed when you're not able to keep everybody and you lose key players," said Melnyk. "One of the reasons, is the new reality of the (collective bargaining agreement) with the years of free agency going down. We're going to have to deal with this for the years to come and I really feel that we dealt with it effectively during the summer."


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