'Keeper of the farm?

Sens goaltender Martin Gerber may see some action down in Binghamton this upcoming season. (Sun...

Sens goaltender Martin Gerber may see some action down in Binghamton this upcoming season. (Sun File/Errol McGihon)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

The Senators' No. 1 goalie in Binghamton next season might carry a huge price tag.

While it's still two months to training camp, Senators GM Bryan Murray could be toying with the idea of sucking up Martin Gerber's $3.7 million (all terms US) salary and sending him to the club's AHL affiliate if Murray is unable to trade him.

While the Senators would still be on the hook for Gerber's salary if they sent him to Binghamton, it wouldn't count against the $50.3-million salary cap.

If Gerber's contract is off the books, it would allow the Senators to make moves in the NHL's free-agent market.

Since taking over from former GM John Muckler last month, Murray has been trying to trade Gerber. The Coyotes and Kings have expressed mild interest in Gerber.

Not being able to move Gerber, winger Peter Schaefer ($2.1 million) and defenceman Joe Corvo ($2.65 million) has tied Murray's hands as teams in the East continue to make moves.

The club is interested in free-agent winger Bill Guerin, but it's believed he's looking for more than $4 million a season.

But Murray's biggest concern is spending in excess of $8 million of his cap room on goaltending next season.

ARBITRATION

No. 1 netminder Ray Emery will file for arbitration by today's deadline (as will centre Chris Kelly and defenceman/winger Christoph Schubert) and he is going be seeking close to the $4.5 million a season that Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro is getting in the 15-year deal he signed last summer.

At the very least, you've got to think the three-year, $8-million deal that Carolina goalie Cam Ward signed last season will be a starting point in contract talks between the Senators and Emery's agent, J.P. Barry.

DEVILS DID IT

Ideally, the Senators would like to deal away Gerber and not have to worry about sending him down, but if they demote him it won't be a first.

Winger Alexander Mogilny and defenceman Dan McGillis both earned their high salaries playing for the Devils' AHL affiliate because GM Lou Lamoriello wanted to free up money to spend elsewhere.

There's a belief that sending Gerber to the minors might lead him to quit, but it's hard to imagine anyone walking away from $7.4 million.

The Senators could also lend him to European squad that might be willing to help Ottawa pay part of his contract.

Getting rid of Gerber would help the club to keep centre Mike Comrie.

Comrie has expressed an interest in returning to Ottawa, but the Senators have told his agent, Ritch Winter, they need to move salary out before that can happen.

The Islanders, Sabres and Kings have all expressed an interest in Comrie, who would be willing to take less money to stay in Ottawa. The Isles are pressing Comrie to take their deal.


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