Who's next to go for Senators?

Will Chris Phillips be the next casualty for the Ottawa Senators. (Tony Caldwell/QMI AGENCY)

Will Chris Phillips be the next casualty for the Ottawa Senators. (Tony Caldwell/QMI AGENCY)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:31 PM ET

So, what next ... and who’s next?

Centre Chris Kelly was dealt to Boston late Tuesday night after the Senators’ 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders. Last Thursday, Mike Fisher, a pillar in the community, packed his bags for Nashville.

They’ll have to install a revolving door in the Senators dressing room at Scotiabank Place before the Feb. 28 trade deadline because there could be a lot more sent packing before this teardown is complete.

Two months ago, the Ottawa Sun reported Senators GM Bryan Murray was under orders to unload contracts as a serious rebuild with this organization was about to begin.

Today, that is reality.

“I’m not trying to trade everybody,” said Murray following the Kelly deal.

“I’m trying to trade some other people or move some other people, but it’s certainly not a housecleaning by any means.”

It’s not? Sure looks like one. If Murray is able to unload all his unrestricted free agents before the deadline, then Chris Phillips, Jarkko Ruutu and Alex Kovalev will be gone.

$23M in cap space

Already, the club should have $23 million in available cap space this summer.

But it seems unlikely the Senators will spend it all.

Murray admitted speaking with Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini and Colorado GM Greg Sherman about what it takes to get younger.

“If you’re going to try to retool the organization, there have to be more than (two players) go,” said Murray. “There have to be doors open for other people.

“We know for a fact going forward that we have three or four very good young players that are waiting for a chance to play in this organization that aren’t even in Binghamton yet, then we have to look at a couple of other guys in Binghamton.

“We’re going to retool the budget, we’re going to retool the organization and you’re right, there are going to be some painful nights here. I’ve talked to Edmonton and I’ve talked to Colorado about going young and how difficult it is at times.”

This is only the beginning.

ALREADY GONE

Mike Fisher, C to Nashville for a first-round draft pick in 2011 and a conditional pick.

Chris Kelly, C to Boston for a second-round pick in 2011.

TOP CANDIDATES

Chris Phillips, D: He hasn’t agreed to waive his no-movement clause. Montreal, Boston, San Jose and Vancouver are all looking for help. The belief is Murray will make a deal, then ask Phillips to give his OK.

Jarkko Ruutu, D: He’s just waiting to get a new home for the playoffs. Probably can’t wait to get away from coach Cory Clouston. The Canucks could bring him back.

Chris Campoli, D: Makes sense to move him since he’ll be a RFA this summer with rights to arbitration. He can play on the second power play and has looked solid with Sergei Gonchar.

Chris Neil, RW: Would be hard to believe they’d deal away one of their only elements of toughness. He has a no-movement clause. The Penguins and Habs both have interest.

POSSIBILITY

Milan Michalek, LW:

He hasn’t been asked to waive his no-movement clause, but there are several teams looking for scoring and Murray is listening.

Filip Kuba, D: He has been soft, but there are a lot of teams that like blueliners who make simple plays. Getting his $3.7 million of the books would be good.

Matt Carkner, D: Lots of teams are looking for the element of toughness in the post-season. He doesn’t make much money, so it’s doubtful he’ll be dealt.

THEY’LL TRY

Alex Kovalev, RW: He’s made it clear he can’t stand coach Cory Clouston and would probably love to be dealt. The trick is finding a taker.

Sergei Gonchar, D: This isn’t what he signed up for as a UFA. He’d probably welcome a move, but with $11 million left on his contract, he’s going to have to wait.


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