April 28, 2012
Plenty of work ahead for Sens GM
By Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
Bryan Murray has to get down to business.
As the Senators were preparing to head their separate ways on locker clean-out day at Scotiabank Place, the club’s GM was already planning for next year with plenty of tasks on his plate this summer.
While Murray was proud of what the club accomplished, knows you can’t rest on your laurels. So changes have to be made.
Among the tasks on his plate:
Asked by the Sun what needs to be improved, Murray said the club needs to add a defenceman and, perhaps, a Top 6 forward to play with Kyle Turris. “Our goaltending was really solid, we’ve got depth there, no question some decisions have to be made on the blueline. Offensively on the blueline, we’re really good,” said Murray. “We have to find out if one of these (UFAs) we have will come back and be solid or do we have to go get another guy? Up front, we’re always looking for somebody to step in and score goals. That line with (captain Daniel Alfredsson) played with Turris, if we had one more guy that could score consistently or be a 20-to-25 goal scorer would make our team different.”
It was noted winger Nick Foligno plays on the left side of Turris and Murray admitted Foligno has to be better next year. “That is exactly what I asked Nick (Saturday), ‘Are you going to be that guy? Are you going to be that guy that improves this summer strength-wise, getting up and down the ice a little better?’ He thinks he can, so I’ve challenged him a little bit in that area.”
Getting a decision on Alfredsson’s future is key. The two met but Murray didn’t ask for a timetable on whether he’ll retire or not. “It will be a daily question I know,” said Murray. “I’ve told him that I don’t think there’s any question he’s one of the best players on our team if not the best forward. He showed that in Game 7 again. I’m trying to discourage him like all heck from retiring ... He smiled and said, ‘We’ll talk later.’ I don’t have a gut feeling. I’m just going to wait. I’m going to try to call him every day and bug him to stay.”
Signing restricted free agent D Erik Karlsson. The belief he’s going to be demanding a contract in the $6.5-$7.5 million per-season range, but Murray isn’t concerned. “I’m not worried about Erik. We’ll get a deal done. It’s not going to be hurried up by any means,” he said. “We’ll talk over the next few weeks, probably to his agent to start. There’s no immediate demand. We’re not playing for awhile.”
Murray has to make a decision on UFA D Filip Kuba, D Matt Carkner and C Zenon Konopka. It’s believed all three would like to stay, but Murray wasn’t prepared to make any commitments. In Kuba’s case, he’d have to take a paycut from the $3.7 million he made this season. “I’ve indicated to each one of them we’ve already talked about them, we have a plan, but until I get a chance to talk to their agent and get a feel of where they want to be, I don’t want to really go there,” said Murray.
Murray is willing to go shopping on July 1 if it will speed up the process of improving the team. “I’ve talked to (owner) Eugene (Melnyk), if there’s an opportunity, hes been very fair in the past and will be going forward. If we can help ourselves, and make the right decision, I cant imagine hell be anything other than positive in doing that,” said Murray. The club isn’t sure they’ll sign all their RFAs (Peter Regin, Jim O’Brien, Kaspars Daugavins, Karlsson and Foligno). “Nope. Not automatically, no. There’s some decisions there as well,” said Murray.
Sounds like there’s a lot on the table.