July 27, 2012
Senators buy out Butler
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Bobby Butler officially got his walking papers Friday.
The winger cleared waivers at noon and was handed a $400,000 cheque by the Senators, who preferred to send the underachieving 25-year-old packing rather than have him take up a roster spot and collect $1.2 million in Binghamton.
If you think the Senators are going to rush out to replace Butler's spot on the 50-man roster, don't hold your breath because GM Bryan Murray is going to take his time in the club's continuing search for another scorer.
While Anaheim's Bobby Ryan -- who is being shopped and would like to be dealt -- has caught the eye of the Senators, it might be in Murray's best interests to wait to see what happens on the labour front.
The free-agent market is pretty much tapped out.
Phoenix captain Shane Doan is reportedly looking for a four-year, $30-million deal to leave the Coyotes. The talk is the Penguins are prepared to put a four-year, $24-million deal on the table if they haven't already.
The Senators aren't going to be getting involved in that kind of contract, especially with a player like Doan. The 35-year-old Doan isn't getting any younger and Murray wants to add somebody with his best years ahead of him.
While there was talk the Senators had an interest in free agent winger Alexander Semin before he signed a one-year, $7-million deal with Carolina on Thursday, Ottawa didn't show any.
Not so much as even a phone call to his agent.
Several league sources have told the Sun in the last five days they fully expect that once commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr get a new CBA in place, there could be a wealth of players available.
The belief is once the dust settles on a new agreement, teams are going to be scrambling to move players. The common thinking: The cap is going to come down because the players' share of revenues is expected to drop.
"My guess is you're either going to see a lot of players bought out or moved," said a league executive. "There are going to be teams that have spent to the cap who will have to scramble to get below it.
"I would anticipate we're going see a lot of players who are on the move. Not sure we're going to see a lot of trades before then, but the teams that are sitting at -- or below -- the floor are in a good situation."
The Bruins, Canucks, Flyers and Flames are all pretty close to the $70.2-million cap. Boston will be able to buy itself some room once it officially suspends goalie Tim Thomas, who says he's not playing in 2012-13, and places centre Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve.
But who knows how much the cap will drop?
The Senators' payroll is $51 million and they still need to add another contract to get to the floor -- which is currently $54 million.
Giving up assets to get a player like Ryan might be ill-advised at this juncture because there could be lots more available.
The Senators didn't get winger Rick Nash from the Blue Jackets because he didn't want to come here, but there may be some sort of fit for a deal if GM Scott Howson still wants goalie Robin Lehner.
The Senators freed up a roster spot by getting rid of Butler and we're assuming captain Daniel Alfredsson (who is training in Sweden) is going to be back to play on the right side of Kyle Turris on the second line.
Murray and his staff just need to be patient for the rest of the summer. There could be a land of opportunity.