Senators commit to Greening, Smith

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:53 AM ET

Two key players in the Binghamton Senators’ magical run to the AHL final signed their first one-way NHL contracts Thursday.

Both are good deals for Ottawa.

First-year pro Colin Greening’s agreement will pay him $700,000 next season, $800,000 in 2012-13 and $950,000 in 2013-14. The big winger could have become an unrestricted free agent after next season, but opted to accept GM Bryan Murray’s offer.

“I love the organization, I love the city and this gives me a little more stability ....I want to be a part of the rebuilding process in Ottawa,” Greening told The Team 1200’s Steve Lloyd and Jason York. “It’s an honour that I am in their plans.”

Zack Smith appeared to put an end to all his shuffling between Binghamton and Ottawa last season. Murray made it official signing the 22-year-old to a contract that will pay him $625,000 in 2011-12 and $775,000 in 2012-13.

Smith had three goals and an assist in Binghamton’s Game 3 victory over Charlotte in the Eastern Conference final. The next night he set up Ryan Keller’s overtime winner as the B-Sens swept the Checkers.

Smith now has 17 points (six goals) in 17 playoff games.

“Zack is going to be a third-line type, match-up type player,” said Murray. “He’s big and strong, he handles the puck fine, but he knows how to play defence, he knows how to play against good players ... He’s a good, solid two-way guy that is just coming of age.”

Greening played 24 games in the NHL after the Senators’ moves at the trade deadline, working his way to a first-line spot alongside Jason Spezza and scoring six goals and seven assists.

Neither he nor the club expected his development to be so fast.

A seventh-round pick in 2005, Greening was putting the wraps on his college career at Cornell just 14 months ago. Of his first pro camp last September, he said he looked around at the talent and figured he’d be in tough to make the AHL team, let alone play any games for the parent club in

2010-11.

“His skating, his size, his strength are the biggest assets,” said Murray. “He knows how to check. He’s a willing worker ... We think he can be a regular player in Ottawa next year.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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