David Hale’s initial stint with the Ottawa Senators didn’t last long.
The veteran defenceman was a victim of his two-way contract Tuesday, when the Senators — who are loathe to bury Brian Lee’s one-way, $875,000 cap hit in the minors — put Hale on waivers.
If Hale clears waivers, he will be sent to Ottawa’s farm team in Binghamton.
“We have six healthy defencemen to start the season and cap space to protect,” Senators GM Bryan Murray said in a statement.
With only $1.27 million left in cap space, Murray is trying to keep his options open before the start of the season. Hale makes $675,000 if he’s in the NHL and has a minor-league clause of $105,000.
Though Filip Kuba and his $3.7-million salary can be placed on the long-term injury list to give the club more relief if necessary, the Senators will have seven one-way contracts when he’s ready to return.
This move might have been made to showcase Lee, whom the Senators considered dealing in the summer. Once the season begins and injuries take their toll, there could be teams looking for help on the back end.
Still, making a deal might be easier said than done.
“I’m always looking and I’m always talking to (GMs),” said Murray. “But in our league today, it’s almost impossible to make a trade unless there’s equal dollars going each way.
“So, you have to plan that long with the type of player that you’re getting back. I’ve looked and talked and we’ll just start with what we have right now. If something develops over the course of the year, we’ll try to do something.”
Off the glass
Murray says the Senators should be able to push for top spot in the Northeast Division. Murray said he believes Montreal and Toronto have both improved, while Boston and Buffalo will be tough. “We’re all pretty good teams here,” said Murray. “I’d like to think we’re right in the top two or three in the division for sure. I’d like to think Boston will be serious about contending with us, but I think we have a chance to be right there with them.” ... The Senators would have been interested in rugged D Shane O’Brien, who was dealt to Nashville by the Canucks Tuesday, if he had been put through re-entry waivers at half-price. Ottawa couldn’t afford to take on his full $1.6-million contract, but Murray — who selected O’Brien while GM of the Ducks in 2003 — is a fan of the scrappy blueliner.
Around the boards
You can rule out the Senators as a possible destination for UFA F Bill Guerin, who was released from his pro tryout with the Flyers Monday. The Senators looked at signing the 40-year-old in the summer, but they don’t have the cap space now ... C Mike Fisher (neck) and RW Chris Neil (left leg) are both expected to play in Friday’s season opener. Neither was on the ice Monday in Petawawa and there was no skate Tuesday. The team returns to the ice Wednesday ... Blueline prospect Jared Cowen, who was sent back to junior, was expected to suit up for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs Tuesday night in Chilliwack, B.C., against the host Bruins.