Free-agent ticket awaits Volchenkov

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:22 PM ET

The clock is ticking on Anton Volchenkov’s future with the Senators.

While discussions between the Senators and Volchenkov’s agent Jay Grossman are continuing, the belief in NHL circles is not much progress has been made and he’ll likely test the free-agent market July 1.

The Senators only have about $8 million (all terms US) in cap space and need to sign restricted free agents Chris Campoli, Peter Regin and Nick Foligno and would like to retain potential UFAs Matt Cullen and Andy Sutton.

After turning down a five-year, $20-million deal before the Olympics, Volchenkov won’t re-sign here unless the Senators are willing to up the ante because there could be a pot of gold in free agency.

Grossman was tight-lipped Tuesday in a discussion with the Ottawa Sun. He admitted he has met with Volchenkov twice in face-to-face meetings at his New York office in the last couple of weeks.

“We’ve talked about the situation and we’re comfortable with what we’ve discussed,” said Grossman, who wouldn’t confirm that Volchenkov put his Ottawa home up for sale recently.

“We’ll see what the coming days and weeks bring for us. Beyond that, I don’t know that there’s much more to say right now.”

The Senators would like to keep Volchenkov in the fold, but not at any price. The market is thin this year and the demand is going to be high for players once teams can start signing July 1 at noon.

There has been speculation the Capitals are looking for a shutdown defenceman, but they might not be able to afford Volchenkov’s asking price — which will likely be in the $5-million range.

The indications are the Kings are looking for a top-four blueliner in Volchenkov’s mould and GM Dean Lombardi has money to spend.

Another possibility is the Canucks.

If the Senators aren’t able to keep Volchenkov, they’ll focus on re-signing blueliner Sutton. Acquired at the NHL trade deadline from the Islanders, Sutton has expressed a desire to stay in Ottawa.

So has Cullen — acquired from the Hurricanes before the deadline — but he said in a text message Tuesday there was nothing new to report on his discussions with the Senators.

Wick on his way?

According to several European hockey websites, the Senators have reached an agreement on a two-year, two-way deal with 2004 No. 5 selection Roman Wick. Though he has spent his whole career with the Kloten Flyers in the Swiss League, Wick was impressive at the Vancouver Olympics with five points in five games. If Wick doesn’t make the Senators, he’ll be assigned to AHL Binghamton.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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