The day isn’t over yet, but there’s been a lot of activity on the NHL Free Agent Frenzy day, as some squads snap up talent for next season, while others, have remained relatively quiet. It was expected to be a quiet day in Ottawa and that it most certainly was, as the Royal visit of Will and Kate grabbed all the attention. Murray warned that he wasn’t going to make the same mistake as he had in the past, signing up big veteran players to blockbuster deals that went bust.
Ottawa fans can take Murray at his word, as the only move on the day for the Senators was to re-sign an old and familiar face: Alex Auld. Auld comes back to Ottawa as a number two goaltender after some time with the Montreal Canadiens, where he got very little time behind Price. Judging the past record of Anderson, Auld may be a good dependable choice as a back up. He’s known to be a good guy in the locker room and dependable enough between the pipes.
It is somewhat puzzling to know that Auld is the one coming back to Ottawa, considering the fact that there were so many goaltenders available for work. This seems to be something of an easy way out for the team, but it may have been a smart choice, considering how much change Ottawa has seen in the past season. A familiar face may be a welcome sight for some of the Sens next season.
It’s clear that the lack of movement for the team means that it’s committed to going forward with who they have now and that there’s a good possibility that Filatov will become a second line winger. Mika Zibanejad will be given a chance to try out for the team in the fall, but all things considered, it may be a safe bet to say that he will spend some of his time in the minors for further conditioning.
It’s a shame to see that Ottawa didn’t go after a power forward, considering how poor Ottawa’s offense was last season. It’s even more startling when you consider how the division rivals are stocking up. The Buffalo Sabres have made major changes with Ville Leino and Christian Erhoff coming off great seasons before signing on with the team. The team has changed so much under new ownership and is even looking to be a contender in the Richards sweepstakes which are fast and furious at the moment. With Ryan Miller in between the pipes and major talent locked up for next season, Buffalo will be the team that others will have to watch.
Montreal has also reinvigorated their lines with the big addition of Erik Cole, much to the chagrin of Eric Staal and the other Hurricanes. It’s a great signing for the Habs, as Cole brings size, speed and good offensive potential to the team. While Habs fans can spend the summer dreaming up the ideal line mates for their latest Canadien, it’s clear that this is a big win for the franchise and a big loss for Carolina.
Ottawa will have their hands full with a new Buffalo and a new Montreal to face off with next season, not to mention the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Boston Bruins. The reality of next season’s northeast division is that Boston, Buffalo and Montreal are going to be contenders and Ottawa’s main job will be to just stay on top of Toronto. Given how good the top 3 look, beating Toronto will continue to be Ottawa’s main source of pride and happiness.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.