Bryan Murray's decisions regarding yound defenceman Andrej Meszaros are not going to come easy. After losing Wade Redden and Mike Commodore from last season's d-corps, the Sens are very thin on defence, especially ones of the puck-moving variety (think Redden, Joe Corvo, Tom Preissing, and Brian Pothier in recent history). The numbers aren't going to be easy.
I wrote a little while ago about what other signings, such as the Matt Carle contract in San Jose, meant for the Senators and Meszaros. The recent Mike Green signing, a four-year deal worth $21M, does not make things easier for the Senators, either. The numbers Meszaros are rumoured to be looking for, around $3.5M a year, don't seem unreasonable given the market. He hasn't played as well in the last two seasons as he did in his rookie season, but he's still a good player and he'll be in the league a long time. And, as shallow as this team looks on D right now, it would be a lot worse without Meszaros.
One distinct possibility, should the Sens not sign Meszaros soon, is that he'll get an offer sheet from one of the teams who've lost out on the Redden or Brian Campbell sweepstakes. The Senators should be able to match an offer of $3.5M or so a year, but if they elected not to the compensation would be a 1st and 3rd round draft pick for the 2009 entry draft. A richer contract, such as an 8-year, $40M deal (sounds crazy, but Kevin Lowe has done crazier things) would get the Sens a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick for the 2009 entry draft. Which is alright, but that does nothing to help the Sens' current situation.
There's also the trade route, and Meszaros' value has got to be pretty high right now. But the Sens' biggest need right now is for top-flite defence, so unless another team wanted to go D-for-D, then the deal wouldn't make sense for Murray.
I wonder if he'll sign 20 minutes after I post this... I kind of hope so.