Bryan Murray's mission
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Senators GM Bryan Murray’s off-season is about to get busy with the NHL draft next Friday and the start of free agency on July 1. (DARREN BROWN/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA - Now that the games are over, the off-ice ones are about to begin.
With the Stanley Cup wrapped up and the Bruins holding their parade Saturday in Boston, teams are going to get down to business in the next two weeks of shaping their rosters for the 2011-12 season.
After hiring Paul MacLean as coach this week, Senators GM Bryan Murray can focus on putting together a roster for next season, starting with next Friday’s NHL draft in Minnesota.
Here’s what Murray has on his plate:
The Senators have five picks in the first two rounds, including the sixth and 21st in Round 1.
As reported by QMI Agency on Thursday, they’d like to move up and the Devils are dangling the No. 4 overall selection.
The Senators will only make that move if the player they want is available at the four spot, presumably a forward.
Assistant GM Tim Murray told the Sun earlier this week the Senators would be more open to a deal involving the sixth overall pick and one of their three second-rounders as opposed to giving up the sixth and 21st pick just to move up a couple of spots.
This hasn’t been talked about much, but it’s an area that could keep Bryan Murray and his staff busy because changes have to be made.
With prospect defencemen Jared Cowen, David Rundblad and Patrick Wiercioch coming to camp in September, the Senators are going to have to make room for them.
They tried to deal veteran blueliners Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba at the NHL trade deadline with no luck.
Both are still available.
Gonchar has two years remaining on his deal at $5.5 million (all terms US) per season, so he’s likely not going anywhere.
Kuba has one year left at $3.7 million.
The Rangers called about the Czech at the deadline, and coach John Tortorella is a fan from their days together with the Lightning.
Signing free agents
The Senators have held talks with pending unrestricted free-agent centre Ryan Shannon.
Shannon was strong at the end of the season, but Bryan Murray wanted to consult MacLean before making a decision on what to do with the speedy forward.
Justin Duberman, Shannon’s agent, said in a text message earlier this week that he had nothing to report. Duberman said the two sides have agreed to sit down in Minneapolis.
If MacLean wants a team with speed, Shannon should fit into the picture.
The Senators also need to sign forward Bobby Butler, who will be a restricted free agent.
The Senators aren’t expected to be a big player on July 1. They’ve already got $45 million committed, which will leave them with about $18 million and they don’t plan to spend to the cap.
That means the Senators aren’t going to compete for guys like Dallas centre Brad Richards or Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa.
Since it appears the Senators are not going to bring back goalie Curtis McElhinney after picking him up on waivers — and they want Robin Lehner in Binghamton for another season — they will likely need to bring in a capable backup for Craig Anderson.