Imagine a 1-2 punch that features Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza on one line and Daniel Alfredsson and Peter Forsberg on another.
Bryan Murray has -- and acted on the thought.
The Senators GM said yesterday he's been in contact with Forsberg's representative, Don Baizley, and expressed a desire in talking contract with the Swedish star.
Forsberg, an unrestricted free agent, had surgery in July on a right ankle that has caused him grief since 2001. Playing a charity game Aug. 2 in Finland, however, the 34-year-old centre scored five points and said the ankle felt good.
If Forsberg decides on a return to the NHL, it's believed Colorado, Detroit and Philadelphia would be among his most likely destinations.
Murray sees no reason why Ottawa wouldn't be included in that group.
"He's not ready to play at this point because of health issues, but I talked to his agent and told him we're interested," Murray said of the skilled, albeit injury-riddled playmaker. "He's still a ways away from making a decision on where he'll play, or even if he'll play.
"There should be a number of reasons why we'd be one of the teams he may be interested in joining. I hope he thinks we have a good team, that we got to the final and we have a chance to do it again, and I think Daniel Alfredsson is his friend. I think there are things in our favour."
Landing the skilled playmaker would be a major coup for the Senators, who were set down in the Cup finals when the Anaheim Ducks put a muzzle on Heatley and Spezza.
A 12-year veteran who has picked up numerous awards (including the Stanley Cup) while sacrificing his body with a style of reckless abandon, Forsberg made $5.7 million last season, which saw him end up in Nashville as a trade-deadline acquisition. Even though the price tag has surely dropped, Murray admitted the Senators would have to clear some cap room to sign him.
"Probably, yes," said Murray, "but we don't have to think about that for awhile. We're still a couple of months away before he makes a decision."
WANTS TO SIGN REDDEN
And no, that doesn't mean Murray will use the time to find another taker for Wade Redden.
The veteran defenceman utilized the no-trade clause in his contract when he nixed a deal to the Edmonton Oilers at the June draft, and Murray now says he will not attempt to unload Redden and his team high $6.5 million salary.
Just the opposite, in fact.
"We're not pursuing anything ... we're not looking to get rid of him," Murray said of Redden, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.
"We'd like to sign him (to an extension) going forward and that's a discussion that could very well take place."
Murray has also had initial contact with the agents for Heatley and Mike Fisher, both of whom are able to test the UFA waters come July 1.
AROUND THE RINK
The Senators announced yesterday they have signed C Jim O'Brien, their 2007 first- round pick, to an entry level contract. That means the 18-year-old is leaving behind the rest of his NCAA career (as a Minnesota Golden Gopher in 2006-07, he was the youngest player in Division I) and attending Senators training camp. O'Brien is expected to spend the season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL ... Murray is not discounting the possibility of signing D Jason York, an unrestricted free agent who wants to end his career in his home town. "You're always looking for guys who can play," said Murray. "Jason was with me in Detroit and Anaheim, so I know him well." ... The Senators are expected to finalize negotiations and announce goalie coach Ron Low as the team's new assistant coach any day now ... Assistant coach Mike Busniuk is expected to re-sign with the Binghamton Senators.