One down, three to go

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:59 PM ET

Mike Fisher is staying put, the Sun has learned.

The Senators are expected to announce later this afternoon that they have signed the unrestricted free agent centre to a five-year, $21-million deal with the club.

This is a big first step in the Senators' efforts to keep Dany Heatley, Wade Redden and Chris Kelly together. All four of the players were to be unrestricted free agents at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season.

"It's good to keep a cornerstone of the franchise," said Senators general manager Bryan Murray.

For his part, Fisher said signing a contract now removes any uncertainty about his future.

"I wanted to stay here. I couldn't see myself playing anywhere else" he said.

Fisher has become one of the most popular players with the Senators, and as such is a big part of the team's profile in the community as well as on the ice. In 68 games last season, the Peterborough native scored 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points -- fourth overall on the squad. He also has a rugged side, compiling 41 minutes in penalties. In terms of points, the 2006-07 campaign was his best so far in his seven-year NHL career.

The six-foot-one, 211-pounder was also a key contributor during the Senators' run to the Stanley Cup final. He talied five goals and five assists in Ottawa's 20 playoff games last spring.

Stay tuned to Ottawasun.com for more details on this breaking news story.


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