Melnyk: Sens to 'tinker' with roster

Next season starts next week for the Senators.

Owner Eugene Melnyk told QMI Agency in an end-of-season interview Friday that he’ll sit down with GM Bryan Murray to discuss changes after the club’s first-round playoff exit in six games.

While Melnyk gave both Murray and coach Cory Clouston a vote of confidence in getting the Senators to the post-season under “difficult cir*****stances,” the boss does want improvements.

“I think we have to tinker a little bit,” Melnyk said from his Barbados home. “I have a meeting with Bryan next week about how we’re going to accomplish that with things that are going to be difficult to get done under the (salary) cap.”

During the wide-ranging, 15-minute discussion, Melnyk said he isn’t sure what the future holds for No. 1 centre Jason Spezza , who had a poor playoffs and whose no-movement clause kicks in on July 1.

Asked if the club was going to spend another summer trying to trade a star — after the Dany Heatley Spezza saga of 2009 — Melnyk put the ball in Murray’s court. has five years left on a contract carrying a cap hit of $7 million per season.

“That’s going to be Bryan’s decision. There’s a little bit of misconception about how hands-on I am. I keep myself knowledgeable,” said Melnyk. “But at the end of the day, the people that I hire make the decisions because they’re accountable … and it’s their responsibility.

“Do we talk about it? Do I want to understand what is the rationale behind it? Absolutely. That to me is important to know the logic behind any transaction. It’s their decision to make. If they came to me, ‘We want to do this or that,’ then I’ll ask all the hard questions. But … it’s their decision and I don’t think I’ve ever overruled a decision.”

Melnyk confirmed he’ll spend to the salary cap, which is expected to rise slightly from $56.7 million this season. But that doesn’t mean the Senators, who already have $49 million committed to 17 players, will be able to keep everybody they want — especially looming unrestricted free agent Anton Volchenkov .

The blueliner rejected a five-year, $20-million deal offered before the Olympics. It’s believed Volchenkov is seeking $4.5-$5 million per season — a contract the Senators likely can’t afford.

“We’ll continue to talk with him, but under the cap system it’s going to be difficult to sign him,” said Melnyk. “The same goes with (Matt) Cullen. It’s all one big puzzle. I’m sure Bryan, with his experience and his scouting staff, will be able to sort it out.”

Melnyk was disappointed in the first-round playoff exit, but pointed to the loss of Filip Kuba (back), Milan Michalek (knee) and Alex Kovalev (knee) as big factors.

He said the club needs to make it to Round 2 to show a profit, but he’s confident the Senators will be competitive again next season.

5 Responses to Melnyk: Sens to 'tinker' with roster

  1. Kramer says:

    Where is every body? I wanna talk about conspiracies in the playoffs. If you got a theory about an organized plot or scheme, I wanna learn.

  2. cam7777 says:

    I know Sens fans will think I'm being absurd, but I think it's time for a rebuild in Ottawa, and maybe a new direction.  The team did well this year, but I really think they performed above their heads this year in a very weak Eastern Conference.  Alfredsson only gets older every year, and Spezza isn't a leader.  Volchenkov is hitting the road, and there's still no legitimate number one goalie.  Kovalev is a joke at 5 million; the guy is just waiting to be traded back to MTL at next year's deadline. 

    I like Michalek, Fisher, Foligno, Neil, Phillips and Karlsson moving forward, but this team needs some fresh blood.

  3. Boston_Bruins says:

    Good weekend for hockey this weekend.

    Savard's celebration was one of the high points for me being a Bruins fan. That's the kind of raw emotion you like to see from professional athletes. As for the game it was pretty Jeckyl and Hyde for the Bruins. The first period and overtime was the best hockey I've seen them play all year, but the second and third periods were weak as could be. Rask played well minus the Pronger goal, and Bergeron and Krejci stepped up big time. I thought Richards and Boucher looked great for the Flyers. Briere was very Jeckyl and Hyde-like as well.

    Pavelski has been the best player of these playoffs (yes, even over you Sid) and has almost single handedly carried me to first place in my hockey pool. There's never a shift where he doesn't make something happen and the timing of his goals are always amazing. Is this the year the Sharks get it done? Datsyuk was equally as dominating tonight though and I think alot of the blame has to fall on Zetterberg and Filppula for that loss as both were just awful.

    I don't really want to talk about the Vancouver Chicago game. That may very well have been the worst hockey game I've ever watched. There was no question from the drop of the puck that Vancouver would take that game and it created a very boring game to watch.

    Montreal is at it again. Halak has been excellent but I have to give alot of credit to teh Montreal defense. THey're doing a great job at keeping teams to the outside and not giving up second opportunities. Again, Fleury has to be better. This is the guy that has to step up or he's going to be to blame for the Penguins not getting to the finals again. I don't think the Canadiens can win this one though, although I think it will go to 6 now.

  4. cam7777 says:

    Pretty much agree with all of that.

    Where was this montreal team during the season? They were awful every time I tuned in for a Habs game this season.  I mean, they're still being totally dominated in every facet of the game but goaltending, but there is something to be said about their team defense.  A bullshit embellishment by Cammalleri that the refs bought, and a quick powerplay goal involving insane luck, and the game was over.

    I know it's blasphemy right now, but I'm not sure it's really all Halak like everyone is saying.  He's rarely had to make any incredible saves in the games the Habs have won.  Like you said, they're keeping the shooters to the outside, and Hal Gill is leading the shot-blocking parade.  Halak's been good, no doubt, but I think everyone's getting a little carried away with the Roy comparisons.  They still have a ways to go to beat Pittsburgh.

  5. Boston_Bruins says:

    Yeah really. It seems like the defense has done a 180 from the regular season. And I completely agree with all of that about Halak. He has been very good but the Roy comparisons are a little bit crazy.

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