Final goodbye for some Sens

With about $49 million committed to salaries next season, there will be changes

The Senators will do some spring cleaning Monday at Scotiabank Place — about eight weeks before they had hoped.

While they’ll meet with Senators GM Bryan Murray and coach Cory Clouston before going their separate ways following a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 Saturday, some players will be saying goodbye for the final time.

With the clock already ticking toward free agency on July 1, the only way shot-blocking defenceman Anton Volchenkov will return next season is if he’s willing to take a hometown discount or Murray is willing to overpay.

There were talks with Volchenkov’s agent Jay Grossman, but sources told the Sun a five-year, $20-million offer was rejected before the Olympic break.

Making $3.2 million this season, Volchenkov, 27, will likely ask for $4.5-to-$5 million per season. There is a strong belief the Washington Capitals are prepared to ante up for Volchenkov , who has played his whole NHL career in Ottawa.

Unless the Senators make a deal to move money, Murray can’t afford to go much higher with Volchenkov . The club has approximately $49 million committed to 17 players next season which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room.

Since the $56.7-million cap is either expected to stay flat or decline slightly, Murray can save cash by buying out the final year of winger Jonathan Cheechoo’s $3.5- million contract. His salary would be spread out over three years as a result.

Replacing Volchenkov won’t be easy. Blueliner Andy Sutton , acquired at the trade deadline from the Islanders, would have been a candidate to return if the club had made it out of the first round. The exit probably sealed his fate.

The Senators didn’t have a healthy Filip Kuba , who plays 20 minutes a game, during the playoffs. He had back surgery, has a year left on his contract and a no-movement clause, so he won’t be going anywhere.

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