Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guess who's coming to town

What the hell are the Senators going to do this off-season? Sure, they made big changes upstairs, but the small ones on the ice have only kept the team roughly equal to the one from last year. The one that didn't win the Stanley Cup. And since so many teams, especially in the Eastern Conference (Philly, New York Rangers), have improved. And if Scott Niedermayer decides to return to Anaheim, the team that beat Ottawa last season has also improved. Here are a few of the remaining free agents that are rumoured to be considering Ottawa, or would be a good idea:

1. Peter Forsberg: I think he's on top of 30 'most wanted' lists across the NHL, and Ottawa's no exception. It would be great to see him playing alongside Daniel Alfredsson, but Forsberg will play where he wants--and that might mean a return to Colorado or Philadelphia.

2. Danny Markov: The Sens are stacked on defence, but if Markov wanted to play in Ottawa (and, according to, he might) I think John Paddock would make room for him by moving Christoph Schubert back to forward, or trading one of the six. People have been saying Joe Corvo's on the block for a while, but I'd rather keep him.

3. Mike Johnson: All off-season I've been pleading with Bryan Murray to bring in Johnson (pictured above, hitting Buffalo's Brian Campbell). Apparently he's not reading this blog enough. The bottom line is that MJ would be inexpensive, and he plays a solid style to fill out our third- or fourth-line. Albeit less effective than Mike Fisher, he plays a similar style. The more Fishers we have, the better.

4. Jeff Friesen: Maybe it's a risk, but as a fourth-line veteran who's won the Cup, it might be worth it. He wouldn't cost much. Plus there's the bonus that we're taking a Senator killer (see 2003 Eastern Conference Finals) off the market.

5. Anson Carter: An interesting option. He's pretty inconsistent, it seems, but he had a hell of a year with the Sedins. He could add a scoring dimension to Ottawa's second or third line, so that if the big line takes a night off we're not screwed.

6. Adam Hall: I don't know what to say about Haller... his effectiveness is limited, and we've got Chris Neil as a more responsible pest on our team. Still, he might be alright as a depth/fourth-line move.

7. Patrick Marleau: Marleau is still the property of San Jose, but apparently they've been shopping him around. One of the potential suitors is Ottawa, but I don't see what they'd want from Ottawa. There is cap room in San Jose, so it's possible they'd take Martin Gerber to back up Evgeni Nabokov, but then Ottawa would have no backup (aside from unproven youngsters). Other than that, there's still Corvo, and possibly Patrick Eaves (who's name has once again, for some unknown reason, been mentioned in trades). An interesting possibility, but unlikely.

The problem with this whole scenario, though, is that Murray could be waiting to give some prospects a shot to crack the lineup. Look for centre Josh Hennessy and wingers Nick Foligno and Danny Bois to push for roster spots. If they fail to impress, then count on Murray dipping into the free-agent pool to fill out the Senators' lineup.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Keep in mind: Alfredsson's Swedish

Ahhhhh!!! Peter Forsberg!!! ahhhhhh!!!

Wouldn't that be wicked? is reporting that Sens' GM Bryan Murray has been in contact with Forsberg's agent simply to let the them know that Ottawa is interested in acquiring the free agent centre.

Forsberg has said that he would like to return to one of his previous NHL teams or play in Sweden this season.

Keep 3 things in mind;
  1. Daniel Alfredsson is Swedish - maybe they're best friends, maybe they talk, maybe they share the same piece of dental floss every morning.
  2. The Senators need a centre. Forsberg would look mighty good on the Sens' second or third line playing with Alfredsson and Vermette.
  3. This would likely put the Senators over the cap limit. According to, the sens have about $4.4 million free for this season, but a hellofva lot more for next year. Maybe signing Forsberg to a 2-year deal with a pay boost next season would sound attractive.
Seem likely? Argue it out in the comments.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I've never been wrong before...

Before the free agent period started, I had a look at the Senators' unrestricted free agents. Let's see how accurate I was on June 12...

Mike Comrie: What I said then...
Likely scenario: He walks. Something tells me he'll go back to some obscure hockey market (like Phoenix or Columbus or Florida) and the media in Ottawa will never see him again.

What happened: The guy did walk. It's not like the Sens didn't try to keep him, the guy just puts his wallet before winning. With the Islanders in a different division, we'll likely not hear from him next year. PS: The Islanders are paying him $3.3 million in 07-08.

Dean McAmmond:
What I said then...
Likely scenario: It's hard to say how this one will go. I think this Canadian kid enjoys playing in a hockey town, but I can't help but think there's a team that will offer him $1 million or more for a 1-year deal, but the sens might match it.

What happened: The Sens got a deal on this guy, signing him for 3 years at $875, 000 per year. I do not know how they did it. This speedy centre/left-winger got 29 points last year and he's being paid like a rookie straight off the farm team. Sweet deal Murray/Muckler!

Tom Preissing: What I said then...
Likely scenario: Tom Preissing is 28 years old and toiled in the college/minors for many long years. He will go to the highest bidder, no matter where that is - he's probably got a young family to provide for and not much time to make this hockey career worth the effort. I see another team scooping him up, and I'll be sad to see him go.

What happened: Tommy P left us. He got $2.75 million per year for the next 4 years in Los Angeles. Good for him, I guess. Except for the fact that Los Angeles hasn't had a buzz since Gretzky left.

So overall, what happened to the Sens' UFAs this off-season? Pretty much what we expected. McAmmond sticking around is a pleasant surprise, but the departure of Preissing and Comrie leaves some big holes to fill in the lineup. As of yet, Murray hasn't really replaced the players that we've lost.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Senators sign D Luke "Richie" Richardson

According to reports from the Ottawa Sun, the Ottawa Senators have reached an agreement in principle with 38-year-old Ottawa-native defenseman Luke Richardson. Preliminary reports have him agreeing to a one-year deal worth $500,000, and with a clause regarding possibly playing in the minor league-affiliate Binghamton Senators. According to a source close to the team, Chris Neil has already nicknamed him "Richie".

I like this deal... it's sort of a no-lose situation. It's pretty obvious it stems from a few fortunate circumstances; one, Richardson is apparently close to GM Bryan Murray, and they cottage near each other; two, Richie is an Ottawa-native. I've seen him around the city a few times, so he makes his off-season home in the area.

As a defenceman, there's little room for Richardson on the big Senators. It's unlikely he'll usurp Larry Nycholat as the seventh d-man, so count on him being demoted to Binghamton. Unless Chris Schubert continues to play forward, in which case Richardson will probably be the team's seventh defenseman after Nycholat.

If the plan is to send him to Binghamton, consider the last couple months to be an amazing start for Binghamton GM Terry Murray. He re-signed Denis "Mr. Binghamton" Hamel to a three-year deal, and brought in forward Niko Dimitrakos and defencemen Richardson, Matt Kinch and Matt Carkner. Add this to the prospects that might play in Binghamton (Nick Foligno, Brian Lee, Alexander Nikulin, Cody Bass) and a few potentially returning guys (Danny Bois, Josh Hennessy) and fans of Binghamton should have a good season to look forward to. Which is fitting, because if I remember correctly, they were pretty bad last year. It'll be great to hear about a recharged farm team, and vets like Hamel and Richardson will certainly help the development of the Sens prospects. Cheers to the Murray family.
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