Senators Offseason Preview

The Ottawa Senators were an exception to the rule. Under the old CBA, they were able to assemble a highly competitive team with a low payroll. Many believe that a team with so much young talent like Ottawa will suffer under this new CBA, however, this is not true. This team will be better than it was before. Here is what you can look forward to this offseason from the Senators.Current Financial Position

Daniel Alfredsson – $4.7 million

Zdeno Chara – $3.7 million

Wade Redden – $3.7 million

Dominik Hasek – $2.3 million

Greg de Vries – $2.3 million

Bryan Smolinski – $2.2 million

Chris Phillips – $1.97 million

Vaclav Varada – $1.2 million

Peter Schaefer – $1 million

Brian Pothier – $0.5 million

Total for 10 players – $23.6 million

Restricted Free Agents – Mike Fisher, Martin Havlat, Marian Hossa, Chris Neil, Martin Prusek, Jason Spezza, Antoine Vermette, Anton Volchenkov, Todd White, Josh Langfeld.

Unrestricted Free Agents – Peter Bondra, Curtis Leschyshyn, Todd Simpson, Shaun Van Allen, Rob Ray.

Re-Signings and Buy-Outs

John Muckler has quite a few decisions on his hands. It is being widely speculated that both Bryan Smolinski and Greg de Vries will be bought out, after all, in the new system, 2.3 million for a 4th defenseman and 2.2 for a third liner will be too much. These buyouts would bring the team payroll to 19.1 million for 8 players.

The Senators would also love to lock up Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, Mike Fisher and Jason Spezza long term. Unfortunately, that is unrealistic at this point. Havlat and Spezza, being up and coming players, will likely ask for 1 or 2 year deals. Mike Fisher, after 2 injury plagued seasons does not have much leverage, so he will also ask for such a deal. Marian Hossa is the most likely to be signed to a longterm contract. I could see him signing for 4 or 5 years, for a salary that starts at 4.5 million and increases to 5.5 at the end of the deal.

Anton Volchenkov, Antoine Vermette and Chris Neil will also be re-signed to modest deals.

Todd White is an intriguing player. He was Jacques Martin’s guy. However, he is not a John Muckler player. I’m sure Ottawa would like to have him back, as he would be a good 3rd line center (not 1st, like Martin had him), however he will likely have to take even less money than the $988 000 he has to be qualified at. If he wants to remain a Senator, he’ll likely make in the 6 to 7 hundred thousand range. If not, I can see him in Florida next season.

I would not expect to see any of the UFAs back, with the possible exception of Leschychyn is he takes under a million.

There is also a possibility that Martin Prusek could be traded. The team believes that Ray Emery is ready to handle back-up duties, and trading Prusek would create cap room and could fetch a decent return.

Possible UFA Targets

Needs: Gritty centerman or LWer, depth defensemen.

Rod Brind’Amour – Likely buyout from Carolina. He’s an Ottawa native who plays a gritty game and can win faceoffs. Ottawa expressed interest in him last trade deadline, but his 5 million dollar price tag was too much.

Gary Roberts – He’s a Senator killer. Bringing him to Ottawa would be a smart move. Steve Simmons reported that Ottawa will offer him more than Toronto can. Roberts expressed interest in coming to Ottawa when he was a UFA, but at that time, Ottawa could not offer enough money.

Joe Nieuwendyk – Good centerman who can win faceoffs. Probably has one more year left. He and Roberts want to play together, so they could be a packaged deal.

Martin Gelinas – Gritty playoff performer. Just what Ottawa needs.

Tyler Wright – Gritty 4th line center who’ll come cheap.

Martin Lapointe – Will have to take a huge paycut.

Team Loyalty

Back to my original point. Many believe that Ottawa will be dismantled by this CBA, as many of their best players are just hitting their prime. With liberalized free-agency, this could be a problem. However, few consider a very large factor: team loyalty.

The majority of the Senators’ core has never been on a different NHL team. They were drafted by Ottawa, and they “grew up” as NHLers in Ottawa. There have not been many changes to this team over the years, and management has been loyal to players such as Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson has returned that loyalty, signing a longterm deal for less than he could’ve gotten on the open market. He also differed a portion of his salary to make trade deadline acquisitions possible. Kind of ironic considering he’s on the NHLPA executive committee.

Many of these young players have started families here, and are extremely comfortable in the community. This played into Alfredsson’s decision, and it will surely play into others.

There have already been signs of this loyalty. Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara, and once again, Daniel Alfredsson have hinted that they will take paycuts to assure that Marian Hossa and Martin Havlat be signed longterm.

You get the sense that the “Ray Bourque salary cap” is in affect on this team. No player will ask for more than Daniel Alfredsson makes.

So this team will not be dismantled. For the most part, it will stay together.

TheCoach’s Projected Lineup

Havlat (2.5) Spezza (1.3) Hossa (4.5)

Schaefer (1.0) Fisher (1.0) Alfredsson (4.7)

Roberts (1.4) Brind’Amour (1.1) Vermette (0.55)

Varada (1.2) White (0.75) Neil (0.45)

Redden (3.7) Volchenkov (0.75)

Chara (3.7) Phillips (1.97)

Pothier (0.5) Leschcyhyn (0.8)

Hasek (2.3)

Emery (0.45)

Total payroll: 34.62 million.

It should be fun!


44 Responses to Senators Offseason Preview

  1. mojo19 says:

    Hasek technically could come back for even less.

  2. rise_against says:

    Why is Roberts 3rd line?

  3. simplyhabby says:

    The Best D in the league combined with a potent offense should make the Sens a top team once again. Can they please beat the Leafs this time in the playoffs?

  4. mojo19 says:

    I heard on Sportsnet that Gelinas doesnt plan on leaving Calgary, even if he’s offered a little more $ somewhere else. But who really knows.

  5. werdo says:

    Yeah – didn’t alfie and roberts light it up at the last all star game?

  6. CechmanekForVezina says:

    Being a Flyers fan, at this point the Sens are looking like the biggest challenge in the East. Hasek, no matter what stage in his career, is a big upgrade in the Playoffs over Lalime. Lalime was solid in the regular season but looked like an amateur in the playoffs (I know that doesn’t hold much considering my username). If they can sign just half of their Restricted/UR free agents (the young guys/LW’s) they’ll hold their ground.

  7. wingerxxx says:

    Gary Roberts would not play on the Sens third line, if they do land him somehow. You need someone like Roberts trying to score goals, not check the opponents top lines. They do need more depth on the left wing though. If they can keep their right side intact, they’ll continue to be scary. And Redden and Chara can carry the defense.

  8. TheCoach says:

    You could definately move Schaefer down and Roberts up.

  9. PayUpSucka says:

    Roberts at 1.4 mill? 2.4 maybe.

  10. Maximus says:

    Right now the Senators are the best team in the East by miles and miles….We will see how that is after all the free agents settle and the make up of all the teams …. cannot be certain until then. I think that the new CBA will in the long run be to the Sens advantage. It is impossible to predict who will make the playoffs this year at this point but the Sens are in my opinion the best team right now.

  11. TheCoach says:

    If anyone pays Roberts 2.4, they aren’t very smart.

  12. mojo19 says:

    1.4 sounds about right to me, maybe a little higher, but under 2 is fair for Gary.

  13. Timaa says:

    I wouldn’t say, by miles and miles. The Flyers are looking pretty good too.

  14. BWbullies says:

    So how well have the senators been in the playoffs so far??? I still think the Flyers are ahead of them…

  15. frezz says:

    he cant come back if they buy him out so no he cant if hes playing hes playing for what they originally agreed on.

  16. CBA says:

    I doubt the Sens will make big changes to their lineup, especially not Roberts and Brind’Amour. I would be mildly surprised if the Sens decide to let Prusek go – they can fit him under the cap and Emery might not be completely ready.

    I agree with the buyouts of deVries and Smolinski, but also believe White should be let go in this way. I also say let Leschchyn go and perhaps upgrade Meszaros into the system, provided he is ready. I think he will be, but they could always sign a veteran to stint here for one or two years.

    I would also sign a centreman, perhaps Tyler Wright, to let Alexei Kaigodorov or Chris Kelly develop into NHL centremen.

    Here is my roster projection:

    Schaefer — Fisher — Alfredsson

    Havlat — Spezza — Hossa

    Varada — Vermette — Langfeld

    Hamel — Wright — Neil

    Phillips — Chara

    Redden — Volchenkov

    Pothier — Meszaros

    Hasek

    Prusek

  17. TheCoach says:

    Well the have managed to dominate the Flyers… :)

  18. Flyer_Dman says:

    Why does Roberts get talked about so much on this site? He is 39 years old. Considering the pool of free agents, there is a lot of (younger) talent available that can produce just as much (probably more) than Roberts. Leadership is important, but the Sens have plenty of it.

  19. TheCoach says:

    Its probably because of the intagibles he brings to the table. Ottawa is not looking for Roberts to be on of their top point producers, they are looking at him for the experience and leadership abilities he brings. A guy like Roberts can have a big impact on young guys like Spezza and Havlat.

    Ottawa really doesn’t need any more scorers. They don’t need anyone who is young. They have plenty of that already. They need a Gary Roberts type player.

  20. PayUpSucka says:

    Oh, must be true then. He’s worth every penny of 2.4 mill. He’s 39 in a 22 year old frame.

  21. Timaa says:

    Senators, dominate the Flyers? I can vaguely recall the Flyers mopping the ice with the Senators, in that brawl two years ago.

  22. TheCoach says:

    A 3rd line 39 year old who has not played in a season and is entering a new financial world is not worth 2.4 million. Maybe in the old system he was worth that much, but not now.

    Gary Roberts is no longer capable of playing a top role. He was pretty much out of gas at the end of the first round last season.

    Roberts will be a solid 3rd liner, and 2nd liner on occasion. In this system, those guys aren’t worth 2.4 million.

  23. TheCoach says:

    I can also vaguely recall the Senators taking care of the Flyers in 5 games, and following that up the following year by ending their season in 6.

  24. CechmanekForVezina says:

    I to admit it but it’s true. Regular season they’re usually even but come playoff time the Sens are Flyers poison. Hopefully it’ll change soon, or at least the Sens could face the Leafs before they face the Flyers haha.

  25. Maximus says:

    And what have the flyers done that was better than the Seenators? Next year the flyers are going to be younger and less experience. I would not count on an improvement from last season.

  26. Scruffy05 says:

    Does anybody know how minor leaguers and call ups factor into the new CBA? I believe they count in some way. It’s not that you can only dress 39 million per day, that is your full team cap. Basically, if you sign 20 people to 39 million you may be fine until one of them get’s injured. Then you are royally screwed.

    Now, I do agree that 35, hell maybe even 37 million would be a safe place to sit because I think there is some complicated salary sharing between the major team and the minor league affiliate. This isn’t against the main post, I think they main post is a very good and safe estimate. It’s not overly fantasy. I can see Roberts and BrindAmour bouth for 1.5 million give or take a piece. They are older and not what they used to be. Great players but no longer worth what they were making. This post is for everybody who is making a stacked up prediction totalling 38 to 39 million on the ice, with no room for backup and reserve players.

    I like this post and I see it as a good possibility. Roberts value may get artificially driven upwards due to the Senators trying to steal him from the Leafs and the Leafs trying to keep him from going. Ottawa does not need to make wholesale changes, and they are not the type of team to do it. I expect them to be a foce in the East, Vancouver a force in the west and whoever gets crosby a force period.

    Speaking of Sidney, I heard a rumor that the actualy draft position selection will be behind closed doors. If that is the case and the Rangers get the first pick, don’t you think everybody will call foul? Especially with Sather and Crosby’s history and everybody in the buissiness, I mean EVERYBODY… especially sports writers, saying that Crosby in Manhatten would be best for the NHL. I see where they are coming from. I agree that for the NHL as a whole Crosby in NY would be great, but I want him to end up there fairly. I personally believe the process for determining who gets how many balls was designed with a vested interest in mind of giving the Rangers a better chance then most, but I don’t mind because it also gave the same chance to other teams and it makes sense and is still fair. If they make live the pulling of the balls from the drum and the Rangers win then all is great. IF Detroit wins then, no offense to Detroit fans… damn. They don’t need him but it was a fair draft and I would accept it. Same if Nashville draws him…. He would be wasted and I would hope that the Nashville brass would realize this fact and be willing to deal him to a hockey town ‘for the betterment of the league.’ Not saying they would, but I can hope right?

    Here’s hoping for a fair an honest draft. If they screw this up and fall into all the conspricay of it being rigged they stand to lose so many fans due to fakeness and loss of respect. If they rig it hockey will become Sports Entertainment and rank BELOW the WWE for total and complete BS. On the plus side for Bettman, maybe the teams south of the Mason-Dickson line will finally pay attention…. Too bad all us Canadians will be hanging him from Bob Goodenow…..

  27. BWbullies says:

    you are completely wrong on that. Since there was no season last year. As for the year before they have gotten better. The Flyers are only loosing Leclair , Amonte and Zamnov. They really didn’t help out in the playoffs at all. So getting rid of them and bringing in young talent they can only get better.

  28. TheCoach says:

    Its funny how this little triangle with the Leafs, Flyers and Sens works.

  29. TheCoach says:

    The rumors are that a call-ups’ salary would not count against the cap, as long as his salary is not higher than the player’s is replacing.

    A team should also leave some room if they want to make adjustments throughout the season and at the deadline. A 2 million dollar cushion should be plenty considering the fact that you would only pay a portion of that players salary. Therefore, you could hypothetically acquire a 7 million dollar player at the deadline and still be under.

  30. Maximus says:

    I think the flyers will be good but not great. In three years if all there prospects develop then the flyers have a chance to be great. There is a big learning curve in the NHL and Carter, and Richards will have there share of bumps in the road. All prospects struggle from time to time. Experience beats young talent almost all the time. You have to learn to win before you actually win. Those guys are off to a good start in there career but it is like an honour student leaving high school and going to university. It is a whole new ball game. Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr, Steve Yzerman, Dennis Potvin ect all had to learn to win in the NHL before they were champions.

  31. nordiques100 says:

    you are so right scruffy, the draft will certainly be fixed. I guess the board of govenors meeting will also be about how the rest of the 29 teams get compensated for allowing crosby to be a ranger. I am like you, if the rangers win for real, then they deserve it. hats off to them for being rewarded for playoff failures. hence why they got and deserved a better chance than some other teams. but because it was behind closed doors, and if the rangers win the prize, then forever this lottery will be tainted. it is a bad start for the “new” NHL. it certainly doesnt seem too new with the way they are doing things already

  32. nordiques100 says:

    And it’s the devils who win out in the end

  33. PayUpSucka says:

    Out of gas????? Get off the crack man, the guy trains all these young guys in the off season, ask around, there isn’t a more fit man in the entire league.

    And 2.4 mill for a playoff warrior isn’t an overestimate, just ask the sens, all he did was beat the sens out year after year.

    I hope stays put, you guys don’t deserve him.

  34. TheCoach says:

    I don’t care how in shape he is. A 40 year old can’t keep up with a 23 year old.

    Last year, after the first round, Gary Roberts ran out of gas. He is no longer a player that can play 17 minutes per game.

    And yes, in the old system he probably would have gotten 2.4. But in the new world, a 40 year old who hasn’t played in a year won’t get nearly that much.

  35. PayUpSucka says:

    Allright, cause you said so.

    Just remember who said he’s getting 2 mill plus. I am well aware of the new system.

    And a 40 year old most definately can keep up with a 23 year old. Forget that he’s 40, his body isn’t. These 23 year olds you speak of only line up every off season to train with this guy.

    As far as your comment that he ran out of gas, where are you getting this info? Did the leafs training staff tell you this? Or did Gary himself? Curious as to where you obtain your info cause last I checked he had 23 teammates last year..

  36. PayUpSucka says:

    I was surprised to hear Steve Montador on OTR yesterday saying that Crosby should be in New York. O well.

    Hence the closed door draft, I guess the rags already got his jersey ready to go.

  37. TheCoach says:

    You know what, if he does get over 2 million, I hope he stays with the Leafs.

    And his body is 40. Listen, a 40 year olds body will take longer to recover from any injury than a 23 year olds, no matter how good of shape he is in. Its a fact of life.

    And where did I get my info? By watching him play.

  38. PayUpSucka says:

    Mustn’t have been watching him play your boys, you’d see what I mean, as I recall he killed the sens year after year, pretty good a 40 year old I guess. Ask Alf, Hossa, or heck even Chara what it’s like playing against a pitbull that doesn’t age. Bet they’d love to have him for 2 mill. Get you guys over the hump.

    As far as injuries, the guy doesn’t get injured. Except the broken neck. But hey, can’t fault him for that.

    And let me say “Wow”you’re amazing, you should be in the NHL in some capacity, i’m eluding to the fact that you could tell he was old in the playoffs. I couldn’t pick up on it, and apparently you’re the only one that did. Even the Star and the Sun missed that one. Pat yourself on the back bro.

    At the end of the day, there are many 35 plus guys that play just as often and as effective as any 20 year old, but hey what do I know. Take a look at man games lost to players over 35 i’m sure you’d be surprised at how more often it was the 23 year old landing on the DL than the 35 and over club.

    Looking forward to the rivalry coach. The season hasn’t begun yet and we’re at it already. Good luck.

  39. nordiques100 says:

    Probably on page 493 section v of the new CBA: Rangers get Crosby in exchange for courtside seats at a knicks game haha

  40. PayUpSucka says:

    haha, wouldn’t doubt it for a second. Seriously.

    I’m hoping if the leafs don’t get the pick that the hawks do. That team needs someone like Crosby to pull them back to standards. Too long since they’ve been good and far to great a hockey city not to be competitive.

    Or someone like Anaheim or LA as the west coast needs a shot in the arm. Anyone but Buffalo or Carolina.

  41. nordiques100 says:

    wirtz will probably bury crosby in the minors to pay him an AHL salary plus to keep him around until he is closer to 30.

    i dont care where crosby plays really. i a) just dont want the draft to be rigged giving him to the rangers and b) as long as he doenst wear a nurse’s outfit like some other highly touted first pick then i will be fine.

  42. PayUpSucka says:

    Nurse’s outfit!!! haha lmfao. Amen to that.

  43. wingerxxx says:

    As a Rangers fan, I’ll be very happy with a top 4 or 5 pick. With what we’ve gone through in the last 8 or 9 years, it’s hard to be optimistic about much, especially a draft. A top 4 or 5 pick would suit me just fine.

  44. zdeno_duchesne says:

    you can replace todd white with patrick eaves

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