Wade Redden is rested and ready.
The Senators defenceman was all smiles as he arrived at the club's training camp yesterday at Scotiabank Place, willing to put the off-season turmoil behind him and focus on the season ahead.
While Redden balked at a deal that would have sent him to the Oilers at the NHL draft in June, he's not worrying about his uncertain future as an unrestricted free agent next summer, he's just concerned about making another run at Stanley Cup with the Senators.
"I always wanted to come back," said Redden. "I'm looking forward to getting started again. It's another camp and I'm looking forward to getting going after the year that we had last year. It was such a fun run, to play as long as we did. I'm here. We've got a great bunch of guys, a great team and that's exciting."
Though GM Bryan Murray said he didn't actively shop Redden during the summer, the Senators did receive calls from two or three teams -- including Edmonton and Los Angeles -- who were looking to make a move to see if they could get Redden.
All that talk stopped when Redden's agent, Don Meehan, told Murray the veteran blueliner wasn't interested in waiving his no-trade clause.
Now that Redden's back, he has to play better than he did last season. He will be the top defenceman on the UFA market next season and needs to have a big year if he expects to keep on making the $6.5 million US he's pulling down this season.
Coach John Paddock doesn't mince any words when it comes to discussing Redden.
"He's got to get back to his place as a premiere defenceman in the league. That's his challenge," said Paddock. "It's up to him to redeem himself. He's capable of doing it and we need him to do it."
Redden realizes he has to get off to a better start.
"I definitely do. I struggled through some injuries early on and I really couldn't get a rhythm," said Redden. "So, I'm coming in this year focused on getting going right off the bat."
WHAT TO DO?: Paddock said he's not sure where to play D/W Christoph Schubert, who played on the club's fourth line most of last season, but wants to be a full-time defenceman. "He would like to settle in one position, and that would be defence," said Paddock. "But he was a big part of making our fourth line go, especially in the playoffs. I looked back with the staff a couple of times this summer and the fourth line was quite often a line that made a difference in games and series. We had a better fourth line than Buffalo and New Jersey. I'm not sure if I prefer him in one place. I prefer us to win. He's a unique player and he contributes." Paddock said the performance of veteran D Luke Richardson and prospect D Lawrence Nycholat in camp will go a long way in deciding what to do with Schubert.
THE WAITING GAME: C Mike Fisher (groin) and G Ray Emery (wrist) were both on hand for the opening day of camp, but won't be able to participate in full drills when the puck is dropped tomorrow at the Bell Sensplex. While Fisher has been skating on his own for the last couple of days, Emery will likely take part in some of the camp with his teammates, but the Senators will be told not to shoot at his glove hand as he continues to recover from wrist surgery. "I expect to be 100% shortly," said Emery, who played with the ligament damage most of last season. "I just want to make sure I get checked out and everything is okay." As for Fisher, he's going to need some time. "We've just got to be smart with it and, hopefully, it's not going to be too many days," said Fisher.