Sens can keep Gerber ... for now

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

In a perfect world, after a hard negotiation with goaltender Ray Emery, Senators GM Bryan Murray would find a soft place for backup Martin Gerber to land.

If you haven't noticed lately, the NHL is far from a perfect world.

The last notes of the music are playing and there aren't much in the way of seats left in the goaltenders' game of musical chairs.

It's a buyers' market when it comes to men in pads these days -- especially those with padded salaries -- so pedalling Gerber won't be easy.

Most teams have their two goaltenders moving forward at this point. Murray couldn't make a move with Gerber until he knew what was happening with Emery.

SHARKS NEED GOALIE

So now the only team that doesn't have two goalies is the Sharks, but with Evgeni Nabokov representing a $5.375 million (all terms US) cap hit next year, there likely isn't room in San Jose GM Doug Wilson's wallet for Gerber.

Unless Murray can pull another deal along the lines of his Peter Schaefer salary dump, it looks like the Senators will have to start the season with a cap hit of $6.86 million next year for the men in the blue paint.

Murray will have to wait for a team to run into an injury or have its gamble blow up (anybody have Wayne Gretzky's number in Phoenix? Or do you think Mikael Tellqvist and David Aebischer are good enough?).

Partway through this year, if Gerber can pick up where he left off last year and with another million knocked off his deal, he might suddenly look decent to somebody out there.

Murray sounded resigned to just such a situation yesterday.

"There are a few teams out there with $6-million goaltenders. I think we can handle it," said Murray yesterday. "If something crops up for (Gerber), we'll take advantage of it."

Problem is, the Maple Leafs will be putting lipstick on their pig named Andrew Raycroft and golden oldies Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph are sitting out there in UFA land, too. The buyers have a few options. The Ducks would probably like to move Ilya Bryzgalov, too.

Despite the belief the Senators are overpaying for their goaltending situation in light of Emery's new three-year, $9.5-million deal announced yesterday, the fact is the Senators still aren't the team paying the most for their puckstoppers next year.

Near as I can figure (with props to NHLnumbers.com), that would be the Blackhawks, whose cap hit for next year for Nikolai Khabibulin ($6.75 million) and Patrick Lalime ($950,000) is $7.7 million.

The cap hit for the Ducks is $7.18 million for J.S. Giguere ($6 million) and Bryzgalov ($1.18 million).

Vancouver has a cap hit of $7.1 million for Roberto Luongo ($6.5 million) and Curtis Sanford ($600,000).

Also in the $6-million club are Colorado (Jose Theodore, $6 million and Peter Budaj, $700,000); Dallas (Marty Turco, $5.7 million and Mike Smith, $950,000); Florida (Tomas Vokoun, $5.7 million and Craig Anderson, $650,000) and Washington (Olaf Kolzig, $5.4 million and Brent Johnson, $813,000).

INSURANCE POLICY

Ottawa's net duo is pricey, but looking at that bunch, they rival Anaheim for the best insurance in case of injury.

The premium is steep, but it's a nice luxury to have ... for now.


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