Busy summer for Sens?

Nobody will be calling for Eugene Melnyk to “blow up” the Senators this summer.

But GM Bryan Murray is going to have to do some bridge building over a couple of big holes that will be left on defence.

Anton Volchenkov and/or Andy Sutton won’t be back, that much is almost certain. It’s clear Volchenkov’s people believe they can get him a multi-year deal worth $5 million per, and as much as the Russian rearguard would like to remain in Ottawa, he’s going to take that money and run.

See ya later, A-Train.

Sutton made $3.5 million this season and, at 35, he’s going to be looking for one more big payday to take him into retirement. He fit in well with the Senators and who doesn’t love his ability to deliver the big hits that strike apprehension into opposing forwards, but unless they can sign him to a one-year deal for about $2-2.5 million, it’s best they part company with the Mountain Man, too.

Murray said at his year-end media address that he believes Patrick Wiercioch and Jared Cowen will be ready to play in Ottawa by the second half of next season, if not sooner. That might be a little ambitious, but the message is clear. Murray is looking ahead. Rather than tie up big money on Volchenkov and Sutton, he can pick from a group of less expensive unrestricted free agents to keep spots warm for Wiercioch and Cowen .

Brian Pothier would be thrilled to come back to Ottawa, and he wouldn’t be looking to hit a home run on a contract, either. Surely, Sean O’Donnell would be interested in playing a year in his home town. Shane Hnidy would like to wear a Senators jersey again. Zbynek Michalek could be keen on skating with his kid brother. The list goes on.


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