Alfredsson, Gonchar, Kovalev and others on the trade block?

Owner Eugene Melnyk broke his silence on his team’s season from hell on Saturday when he told the Ottawa Sun that, “The time has come to make some of the most difficult decisions that any owner can make.”

Melnyk said he has a plan “in motion” but refused to elaborate.

The Globe and Mail, however, has learned certain aspects of the plan.

– General manager Bryan Murray will finish out the year in his position but will move on to a senior advisory role similar to that held by coaching legend Scotty Bowman with the Chicago Blackhawks. Murray, who stayed on this season at Melnyk’s request, is open to this change as friends say the results of this season have left him “sickened.”

– coach Cory Clouston will also play out the year, but is highly unlikely to stay on as head coach. The new GM will have full responsibility for naming the coach of his choice.

Murray’s immediate task will be the “selling off” of player assets heading into the Feb. 28 NHL trading deadline. If playoff-bound teams are interested in the likes of forward Alexei Kovalev or defenceman Sergei Gonchar, two unhappy and underperforming expensive veterans, deals could be forthcoming. It is even possible that longtime stalwarts such as captain Daniel Alfredsson and defenceman Chris Phillips could be moved it they agree to the deals.