Sens GM finds no takers

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

Out with the old and in with the new isn't working the way Senators GM Bryan Murray had hoped.

Murray has spent the past couple of days trying to deal some of the club's extra players, but he hasn't been able to find anybody willing to take on extra contracts as NHL teams try to get to the 23-man roster limit.

While the Senators had planned to make their cuts from the 26 players remaining in camp following tonight’s final exhibition game against the Bruins at Scotiabank Place, Murray is going to hold off until next week to see if he’s able to move a player or two before making decisions.

That doesn’t seem likely.

“I made a number of calls (Wednesday) and what’s happening is a lot of teams feel they have a fairly set lineup or they have extra players that they may be inclined to do something with,” Murray said yesterday. “We have to let it sort itself out here a little longer and maybe there will be some need (elsewhere) as we go forward.”

The Senators, who don’t open the regular season until Oct. 3 against the Rangers, have to declare their final roster 48 hours before the season starts on Oct, 1.

The belief in league circles is Murray is trying to move defenceman/winger Christoph Schubert to get his $883,000 (all terms US) salary off the books. Murray is also gauging the interest in defenceman Alexandre Picard, who is scheduled to make $850,000. The Jackets are looking for defensive help.

The strong training camp efforts of centre Peter Regin and defencemen Erik Karlsson and Matt Carkner has created a glut of players for the Senators.

Others who could be on the outs include centre Chris Kelly, who has landed on the fourth line making $2.125 million, and winger Shean Donovan.

Murray cautioned not to read too much into pre-season performances, pointing out that in previous years, both Denis Hamel and Brandon Bochenski couldn’t cut it in the regular season after ripping it up during the exhibition season.

Murray said Regin and Karlsson have strong futures.

“Watching them every day in practice, they’ve been working hard, they’ve been solid and able to produce,” said Murray. “I don’t think they are a flash in the pan. They’re NHL players, but you can’t keep everybody to start the year. You’ve got to go down to 21 or 22 players.

“Karlsson is going to be a very good offensive defenceman in the league and Peter Regin is going to play in the league.”

The heat has been turned up on Kelly, who has been skating on a line with Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil, because of his salary.

Murray maintained that Kelly just needs to get back to feeling comfortable without longtime partner Antoine Vermette, who was dealt to the Blue Jackets last season.

“(Kelly’s) going to score 12-15 goals. That’s what he is,” said Murray. “He has probably lost a little bit of the identity that he had. He skated well (against Tampa) in Regina and he looks like he’s skating better.

“That’s why you have to be careful in training camp with your veteran players. You’ve got to know that the high-end guys are going to do what they have to do and they’ll be okay.”


Photos