With the NHL Entry Draft now in the books, the next date of interest is just four days away. The NHL’s free agent market will open July 1 at 12:00 PM and while the Sens don’t figure to be huge players, they will try to add a couple pieces to the puzzle.
At the top of Bryan Murray’s Wish List- Another forward who can play in the team’s top six and a goaltender to back up Craig Anderson.
It has been well documented that this year’s free agent group is fairly weak. There certainly isn’t a ton of high end talent to be had so I’m really not expecting that busy of a day in the Nation’s Capital. With that said, I do expect Murray to do at least a little bit of shopping, especially when you consider the fact that the Sens have so much cap space heading into next season.
As far as top six forwards go, Brad Richards, Jussi Jokinen and Ville Leino appear to be among the best options available. After the weekend purge in Philly, you would expect they will do everything they can to keep Leino around. Brad Richards is the top UFA this off season and is out of the question.
Jokinen on the other hand is a guy that will hit the market and I would expect Murray to at least kick tires on that front.
Jokinen has scored 49 goals over the last two seasons and is deadly in the shootout. He will be looking to cash in when the market opens. Jokinen will get at least $4 mil a season and on a long term deal (three or more years). Murray will make a call but the price and term are likely going to be a little too rich for the Sens.
Other names that may be of interest include Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann and Simon Gagne.
As far as a back up goalie goes, I think we’ll see the Sens go with the most affordable option. With Anderson expected to get the bulk of the games and Lehner pushing hard from Bingo, there is no reason for Murray to spend big here. Expect to hear names like Conklin, Turco, Auld, Harding, and Garon thrown around.
At this point, the only certainty is the Sens signing a goalie. Murray has indicated he would like to add another forward but that definitely isn’t a must and he isn’t going to overpay. For a team in a rebuild, you could easily justify going with the group they have and letting some of the young guys battle for those top six spots.
- The Sens also have eight restricted free agents that they will need to deal with as well. Qualifying offers for those players are due today at 5:00 PM. Will try to dig up a little more information on this because there’s a good chance not all of the RFAs will be receiving a QO.
- The Ottawa Senators will kick off their annual development camp beginning tomorrow in Ottawa. All ten of the players drafted by the Sens this weekend are expected to be in attendance. Expecting more information on the camp to be released today. Will add it to the bottom of this post when it becomes available.