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Looking ahead to the draft, what Ottawa hopes to do

Posted By Kevin Lee On May 24 2010 @ 8:49 am In Ottawa Senators | 11 Comments

First off, to all the detrackers out there when it comes to my Sens writing and being objective, not subjective like so many writers/bloggers, it was nice to see Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun write an article yesterday concerning Anton Volchenkov.  Brennan confirmed my story from more than two days earlier that Volchenkov had put his house up for sale.  

Of course, the pro-Sens fans with their red pom poms and Sens pyjamas who think nothing bad ever happens to their beloved team couldn’t stomach the fact that I had blogged about Volchenkov basically showing the Sens faithful that he was on his way out of Ottawa by selling his Kanata home.  It should come as no surprise to Sens fans that he is leaving for more money after he took a hometown discount 4 years ago to stay in Ottawa.  The select rose-tinted sunglass wearing Sens fans should have saw this coming back in March when his agent and Sens GM Bryan Murray couldn’t even come close to narrowing the gap on contract talks.  Murray has definitely come to the conclusion that it’s easier to find a shotblocking defensemen than it’s to find a puck moving defensemen like Erik Karlsson.  I am told Murray is 100% looking to move Volchenkov’s rights for a 2nd or 3rd draft pick prior to the draft.  I would be very surprised if Murray doesn’t have a deal in place prior to the draft June 25th in LA. 

Murray has close to 50 million committed in salaries for the upcoming season.   With Nick Foligno, Jesse Winchester and Chris Campoli all set to get small raises as RFA’s, it won’t leave much room to sign a defensive minded defensemen like an Andy Sutton or a veteran forward like Matt Cullen.  With so many forwards under contract, one has to wonder if Murray trades away a forward to clear a little cap space.  As Steve Lloyd of the Team 1200 pointed out earlier this week, the Sens have 15 forwards on one-way contracts.  I would assume one of those is the contract of Jonathon Cheechoo who Murray will undoubtedly buyout this summer for a cap hit of 1 million the 2010-11 season and again for the 2011-12 season.  There are alot of decisions that need to be made in the next month with Murray having to focuse his efforts on the defense.  The one area of concern will be defense this season as Ottawa tried to break in a one or two rookie on the blueline. 

I will be back later this week with a look ahead to what the Sens are looking to do at the draft along with possible trade talk or players the Sens are targetting come UFA day on July 1st.

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Kevin

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