June 12, 2012
On with the show for Senators
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Time to get down to business.
The Los Angeles Kings are Stanley Cup champs, so the off-season has begun (Here’s hoping a new CBA gets hammered out in time for training camp in September).
With the NHL draft set for June 22-23 in Pittsburgh, Senators GM Bryan Murray has a lot on his plate before free agency begins on July 1.
Here are a few areas that will grab Murray’s attention over the next couple of weeks:
Captain Daniel Alfredsson will likely make a decision on his future before Canada Day. The 39-year-old has resumed working out and will head to Sweden once his kids are out of school for the summer.
The Senators won’t push Alfredsson for a decision. Murray has told Alfredsson he’d like him back and left it at that.
Alfredsson, who has one year left on his contract, was one of Ottawa’s best players this season, posting 27 goals and 32 assists in 75 games. With those numbers, Alfredsson could play a couple of more seasons.
The Senators are expected to table an offer to this season’s top-scoring blueliner in the next week.
Since Murray and Erik Karlsson’s agent Craig Oster are both headed to the NHL Awards next week in Las Vegas, don’t be surprised if they just sit down for a face-to-face meeting there to try to hammer out a deal.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Senators haven’t put their first offer on the table to the 21-year-old Karlsson, who is coming off a 78-point season.
The reality is there isn’t any rush.
The threat of an offer sheet exists, but the Senators would match if somebody throws a boatload of money at Karlsson.
The sides have pretty much agreed on term, now they have to work out cash.
Sources say the Senators have already informed defenceman Matt Gilroy he won’t be back. Dealt here at the deadline from Tampa, it didn’t work out for either side and he will move on.
Blueliner Filip Kuba is all but gone. He can sign with Ottawa if he wants to take a pay cut to the $3-million range. That’s not going to happen, so he’ll hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.
The Senators have expressed an interest in keeping rugged defenceman Matt Carkner and centre Jesse Winchester. Both are waiting for offers.
In Carkner’s case, he could be attractive on the open market.
That leaves centre Zenon Konopka. He’d like to return and did a top-notch job in the playoffs. He could be a guy the Senators ask to wait until after July 1 before making a decision on his future here.
Murray and his staff will meet with the media later this week to discuss the draft.
The Senators hold the 15th pick in the first round.
Murray is confident they’ll be able to get some help with the selection, but wouldn’t rule out trying to move up.
“There are players (who are expected to be available at 15) that we certainly like,” said Murray. “We feel at that position we should be able to get a player that is very useful and will be a guy that will play in the league for a number of years.”