Every time we blink, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray pulls off another wise move.
A day after he locked up restricted free agents Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad to highly reasonable deals, Murray delivered on his promise to trade a goaltender. Ottawa has shipped Robin Lehner and center David Legwand to the Buffalo Sabres for the 21st overall pick in tonight’s NHL draft.
The move is an obvious win for Ottawa. We knew it needed to lose a goaltender after re-signing Andrew Hammond and shoring up the future with NCAA keeper Matt O’Connor. We knew one of Lehner and Craig Anderson was as good as gone, and we also knew Buffalo was the ideal trading partner. Sabres GM Tim Murray is Bryan’s nephew and the Sens’ former assistant GM, so he knows Ottawa’s players well, and the Sabres desperately needed a goalie. The Sens also shed the dead-weight contract of Legwand, 34, who carries a $3-million cap hit one more year. So Ottawa can roll with Anderson and Hammond as a tandem, it will retain all its key young free agents, it has freed up a few more million in spending money and it picks twice in the first round tonight? My goodness. Murray is on fire.
FORT LAUDERDALE – We know a few things when it comes to the prospects of Phil Kessel being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs. First, the Leafs have already told their core players there are going to be changes. Second, the Leafs are actively speaking with teams about the possibility. Third, there appears to be a lot of interest in acquiring him. Fourth, the chances of him reporting to training camp as a member of the Maple Leafs are growing slimmer by the day.
Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan did not come out and say Kessel would be dealt, but spoke volumes when he said, “Anything is possible.” To these eyes anyway, it just does not look as though Kessel has any long-term future in Toronto. So does Shanahan see any scenario where Kessel actually remains a Maple Leaf?
When the Ottawa Senators staged their furious charge and made the playoffs against all odds, their freshmen led the way. Andrew Hammond was not a rookie by NHL standards because of his age but was still a first-year player. Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and Curtis Lazar? No ambiguity there. That speaks to how well the Senators have drafted over the past few years.
Round 1, pick 18
Round 2, picks 42, 48
Round 4, pick 109
Round 5, pick 139
Round 7, pick 199
The Ottawa Senators dazzled us with their Cinderella story in the second half of 2014-15. General manager Bryan Murray, however, couldn’t savor the run too long. His off-season to do list was gargantuan. He had to decide on signing Andrew Hammond and figuring out his goaltending situation altogether. Murray had to lock up coach Dave Cameron, too. And, most importantly, Murray had to sort through his collection of high-impact restricted free agents: Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, Alex Chiasson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
So far, so very good, Mr. Murray.
The Sens inked Hammond to a three-year, $4.05-million contract May 20, taking on little risk since the cap hit wasn’t astronomical. Next up was Cameron’s two-year extension, finalized last week, plus an affordable two-year extension for Pageau.
And Thursday marked a legitimate coup for Ottawa. As reported by beat writer and THN Senators correspondent Bruce Garrioch, RFAs Stone and Zibanejad have signed extensions.
Earlier this week, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that sources claim there’s considerable interest from several clubs in Rangers backup Cam Talbot. It’s expected Talbot, who turns 28 in July, could be traded by the upcoming NHL draft in Florida.
Brooks didn’t specify which teams are pursuing Talbot, but TSN’s Darren Dreger lists the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres among the suitors. Dreger claims the Oilers, Sabres and Sharks are “pretty eager”, while the Flames, Panthers and Stars have “some interest.”
It shouldn’t be surprising that Talbot’s attracted so much attention. His solid performance filling in for sidelined Henrik Lundqvist in February and March suggests he has the capability to become a full-time NHL starter. He won’t get that opportunity with the Rangers.
There was a time when Alexei Yashin was one of the most dangerous players in hockey. Not recently, mind you, but there was a time. But as any Rangers or Devils fan can probably remind you, the New York Islanders were still paying the Russian center, despite buying out his contract in 2007.
As gloriously detailed by Lighthouse Hockey, Yashin’s albatross contract haunted the Isles until Chicago hoisted the Stanley Cup last night, which put an end to the 2014-15 NHL season.
Daniel Alfredsson spent 17 seasons as a member of the Senators organization and it’s possible he could return to the Ottawa bench, this time as a coach.
According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Alfredsson, who was in attendance at an event with Ottawa’s Boys and Girls Club, wouldn’t rule out the possibility of returning to the Senators as a member of the coaching staff. It’s believed that Alfredsson could, at the very least, return to the team in an advisory role, but the possibility of him becoming a coach in Canada’s capital is intriguing.
This past season, with Alfredsson freshly retired, he took the opportunity to coach his sons, an experience that the longtime Senator said he appreciated. Read more
The Senators are going to be bringing back coach Dave Cameron next season, as reports say he has signed am extension to continue as Ottawa’s bench boss.
According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Cameron and Ottawa agreed to a two-year deal Thursday afternoon. Signing the deal means the Senators, and Cameron, get to see if they can recapture the magic that saw them become one of the NHL’s hottest teams down the homestretch of the regular season.
Cameron landed the job as Senators coach on Dec. 8 after the team relieved Paul MacLean, the 2012-13 Jack Adams Award winner, of his duties. Read more