My top 5

- May 17th, 2012

I wrote a story on this. Thought I’d post it here. Discuss amongst yourselves. I’m taking some time off. Will try to make sure Don moderates the comments.

Will Bryan Murray go shopping this summer?

The Senators GM probably wants to get his own house in order before making that decision. He has to find out if captain Daniel Alfredsson will return and also must sign defenceman Erik Karlsson.

Then, Murray has to decide whether he’s going to keep unrestricted free agents Matt Carkner, Zenon Kenopka and Filip Kuba. Getting a new deal for pending restricted free agent winger Nick Foligno also is a priority.

With $37 million committed for next season, the Senators will have to decide if they’re going to be big spenders on July 1. Owner Eugene Melnyk has indicated they won’t be a cap team again. However, there is room to buy.

The Senators want more scoring support up front and a defensive defenceman for the back end. Here’s a list of five free agents they should look at:

No. 1 Zach Parise, C, New Jersey Devils

He will be the No. 1 free agent on the market and the Senators’ chances are slim.

But they will make a pitch. Parise’s going to make more than the $6 million he pulled down this season. If the club wants to add scoring, Murray, at the very least, has to make a phone call.

With 31-39-69 points in 82 games this season, Parise has helped lead the Devils to the third round of the playoffs against the New York Rangers. He certainly would take some of the scoring pressure off Jason Spezza.

The competition will be fierce. Parise will want to go to a team that’s going to push for a Stanley Cup. The Senators have shown they’re back in the race. This one is worth a try.

2. Chris Kelly, C, Boston Bruins

He won his Stanley Cup. Now, it is time for him to come home.

Kelly was dealt during the purge in 2011, but the Senators didn’t really want to get rid of him. The club was going nowhere under then-coach Cory Clouston and Murray had a chance to give a good soldier an opportunity to win.

It’s no accident Kelly brought the Stanley Cup back here last summer to celebrate with family and friends. He kept his home in Barrhaven and there’s a strong belief he wouldn’t mind coming back.

He would have success playing under coach Paul MacLean’s system and the club could use his leadership. Bringing Kelly back is a move that makes sense for both sides.

3. Bryan Allen, D, Carolina Hurricanes

The Senators are going to need a defensive defenceman.

They have to decide whether they’re going to retain Kuba and Carkner or let them walk away as UFA’s. It’s hard to say what route they’ll take, but Allen could be had for a reasonable price if they opt to go to the free-agent market.

He wasn’t dealt at the deadline so it might make sense for him to stay put in Carolina. He’s popular in the dressing room and had a minus-1 rating on a team that struggled in all areas most of the season.

Allen had a cap hit of $2.9 million this season. He’ll have interest on the market, but is a realistic choice.

4. David Jones, RW, Colorado Avalanche

The 27-year-old made $2.5 million this season.

He had 20-17-37 points in 72 games last season. You’d have to think he’d thrive and have success playing on the right side of Spezza. The Senators just need a little more production from that top line.

Bobby Butler was supposed to be that man for Ottawa, but it didn’t work out. Jones is a guy who has played in the league and knows what it takes to score goals. Spezza is the kind of guy who can get Jones the puck.

Scouts believe Jones’ best years still could be ahead of him.

No. 5 Jiri Hudler, C, Detroit Red Wings

You have to think Hudler might decide to stay where he’s comfortable and had plenty of success in his career.

It’s difficult for any player to leave Motown, but Hudler is coming off a 25-25-50-point season in 82 games and may want to cash in on his success. He is familiar with MacLean, a former Red Wings assistant coach, and could work well in a second-line role.

After making $2.7 million this season, Hudler is going to be in for a healthy raise. There may not be room for him in Detroit because the Wings are expected to make a pitch for Parise along with defenceman Ryan Suter.

Hudler could be a nice fit for the Senators, but he’ll attract plenty of interest even with the CBA set to expire.

Categories: Hockey

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2 comments

  1. Bobby Goodman says:

    So Canada loses to Sovakia in the quarter finals. They only beat this team by a single goal earlier. Some on this team were brilliant when they played against weaker teams like the Borat Bombers and Belamuse getting 4 & 5 points in a single game but have done little else since. When all the other teams in the tournament were selecting the best talent available and adding talent as NHL teams were eliminated, Mr. Happy was turning the NHL’s 4th leading scorer away and selecting an 18 year old Junior defencemen to participate. Brilliant I say! Sutter for coach, again brilliant. I suspect there will be many “lemmings” who will fully endorse all the Hokey Canada do.

    Will Murray go shopping? Perhaps, but it will be more of the same, finding players in the hockey version of Giant Tiger. There is not doubt Karlie will stay in Ottawa. His surrogate Dad (God) will assure it will happen. Murray’s committment to building Hockey Sweden in Ottawa will make Karlie’s decision that much easier.

    Carkner should be resigned if he is healthy enough and he doesn’t cost too much. Konopka can go away, please go away. It is not imperative to sign Foligno. In spite of what you say Bruce. He is a 15 to 16 goal guy having played with the team’s better players. He’s not good defencively and is very slow. What do you want the team to do Bruce, pay him $2m (or more), the same money Kelly was making and trade away to help out the Orgnanization? You endorsed him leaving and now you say he must return; I am very confused. Please explain. I am sorry buddy but you are sounding like a guy who simply supports that was done and all they will do. What is Le Moustache’s system and why would Kelly’s game prosper under it? Afterall, he played well here in Ottawa and had his best year ever in Boston!?

    I have loved the way Bryan Allen plays the game for a long time and wanted him here in Ottawa for years. He is a big, strong and very tough Canadian kid. Unlike Gilroy, Gonchar, Kuba, Cowen, Karlie and “The Big Rig” he will punish the opposition! He will drop the gloves and protect the little ones. He at 2.9m is far better value than Gonchar, Kuba and Philips at 5m, 4m and 4m respectively! Gilroy can go away with Konopka and Butler.

    Why would Colorado move Jones and why would Ottawa want him. Afterall, isn’t Petersson pegged as “Spezza’s right winger for the next ten years”? I suspect Lidstrom will retire in Detroit leaving a lot of cap space. There are others who are long in the tooth who may follow him. They will want to keep Hudler and his speed, skill, goals. Certainly they may go after Parise and/or Sutter, but it wont preclude theit retaining Hudler’s services. Ottawa will not go after Parise (they may pretend to be contenders). Murray has his instructions and fiscal responsibility (except for Karlie’s contract) will be the order of the day. Expect austerity measures for the next year or two!

  2. Sean says:

    Considering how the team fought in playoff conditions perhaps the three year plan might as well turn into the 2yr plan. Zac is a great find but what about some talk of a Rick Nash. After our performance and grit one might think our team if aproached he might like (goals & assists solved) not to mention what he could bring to the powerplay. I know he’s not a free agent but we have options for say a goaltender they need and other need’s. Maybe Alfredson would want to know what the team is doing before he knows. We need a goal scorer badly one way or another so open up the cedarchest god knows we saved last year. GO SENS GO

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