May 22, 2010
A-Train homes in on CapitalsPuts Ottawa house up for sale with talk of $5M salary awaiting looming free agent
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
MONTREAL — The A-Train appears to be getting ready for departure.
Five weeks before the opening of the NHL’s unrestricted free agent market, sources have confirmed that Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov has put his Ottawa house up for sale.
All signs point to Washington as his next destination.
Talk is the Capitals are prepared to offer Volchenkov a salary in the $5 million-range, which would be a $1.8-million raise from his 2009-10 stipend. There is also the belief that the Caps will have star winger Alex Ovechkin call his comrade and sell him on moving to the D.C. area.
Part of the appeal for Volchenkov — along with a lavish contract and the fact Washington is expected to be a Stanley Cup contender — figures to be that he’d be joining a team that already boasts fellow Russians Alexander Semin, Semyon Varlamov and Ovechkin.
Volchenkov, of course, could still decide he wants to remain in Ottawa, where he has played all seven of his NHL seasons. But talks between the Senators and the league’s all-time shot-blocking leader are going nowhere.
“I’d like to re-sign him, but the dollars don’t work at the present asking price,”Senators GM Bryan Murray said Saturday.
Andy Sutton could still be an option for Plan B, although the big blueliner may also be out of the Senators’ salary range — or demanding more than they’re prepared to give him — when he is scheduled to become a UFA on July 1.
With very few top quality defencemen on the market, that means Murray could be spending his second consecutive summer looking to make a significant trade.