Barring a trade of someone bigger than Brian McGrattan, Bryan Murray figures he'll have about $5 million (all terms US) to wave at an unrestricted free agent next week.
That would likely take him out of the Brian Campbell sweepstakes -- unless the former 67's star is willing to accept less salary to play in the nation's capital next year.
"We'll talk to anybody if they want to come to Ottawa," Murray said wryly yesterday at the Senators' development camp.
As expected, the NHL's cap is going up for a fourth straight year, this time a $6.4-million bump to $56.7 million. The floor will now be set at $40.7 million, which is higher than the $39-million ceiling coming out of the lockout.
The Senators' primary need is for a puck-moving, offensive defenceman, and if Campbell is out of their range, Murray is expected to concentrate his efforts on Michal Rozival. The 29-year-old Czech has posted back-to-back seasons in the 40-point range for the Rangers. He made $2.3 million last year.
Murray estimates the Senators are currently committed to about $43 million in salary and is banking on spending about $6 million to get both restricted free agents Andrej Meszaros and Antoine Vermette under wraps.
"I think then I'd have a need for one or two forwards and one defenceman ... and a backup goalie," said Murray.