It looks like the salary cap may catch up to the Ottawa Senators, and it might cost us a blue-chip defensive prospect Andrej Meszaros.
In case you haven't heard, Matt Carle of the San Jose Sharks has signed a four-year, $13.75M contract extension. Carle and Meszaros are comparable in many ways; in fact, Meszaros is a much better player on paper: more career games at a younger age, better size, and more offensive results and upside. So, if Carle is worth $3.5M a year, how much is Meszaros worth?
With so many free agents to sign for next year and so much money already devoted to recently-signed player, Ottawa's going to have to sign Meszaros to a pretty low contract. If it lasts until July, Andy will receive an offer sheet from another team (probably Edmonton, given Kevin Lowe's reputation and apparent fetish for young and/or offensive defencemen).
While I hate to see a promising player like Meszaros go, it might just be the cost that comes with the new NHL. With prospect Brian Lee playing well in Binghamton and the one-way contract that Larry Nycholat has signed for next season, it looks like Ottawa's still okay for defence. If there's a way to keep Meszy, though, I say go for it.