Bobby Ryan (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Contract talks between Ottawa and defenseman Marc Methot have apparently reached a stalemate and it's questionable whether the Senators can afford Bobby Ryan's supposed asking price. Are trades the answer?
Contract talks between the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Marc Methot have apparently reached a stalemate. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports Methot, whose current annual cap hit is $3 million, is believed to be seeking a deal comparable to Brooks Orpik, who earlier this summer inked a five-year deal worth $5.5-million annually with the Washington Capitals.
Methot, 29, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Up until now the Senators have had success re-signing several key free agents. They recently re-upped goaltenders Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner, along with wingers Milan Michalek and Clarke MacArthur.
Garrioch notes the Senators currently have seven defensemen under one-way contracts. He speculates they could trade Methot if unable to reach agreement on a new deal before the season begins.
If Methot is shopped the asking price could be a scoring winger. Garrioch reports the Senators seek a top-nine forward. Given the lack of available talent via free agency, they could go the trade route. Garrioch cites sources claiming Carolina's Alexander Semin, New Jersey's Damien Brunner and Buffalo wingers Drew Stafford and Chris Stewart might be available.
Given Semin's $7 million per season salary through 2017-18, the Carolina Hurricanes could be forced to pick up part of his contract to facilitate a trade. Stewart ($4.15-million cap hit) , Stafford ($4 million) and Brunner ($2.5 million) are more affordable. Like Methot, they're also slated for unrestricted free agency in July.
Stewart was linked to the Senators before and after his trade last season to the Sabres from the St. Louis Blues. Senators GM Bryan Murray's nephew (and former Senators assistant GM) Tim Murray is now Sabres GM. Depending upon the Sabres needs, a deal between those two clubs is possible.
Winger Bobby Ryan is another potential free agent the Senators hope to re-sign soon. Ryan recently returned to Ottawa for the start of training camp. The Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren reports the 27-year-old winger looks forward to getting more involved in negotiations.
Ryan speaks glowingly of the Senators' core of young talent and how much he enjoys playing in Ottawa. Given his age (27) and scoring ability, however, Ryan would be among the most sought-after players in the 2015 free-agent market. And the more top pending free agents sign before July 2015, the more Ryan's stock rises.
Earning a cap hit of $5.1 million on his current contract, Ryan could command upwards of $8 million on the open market next summer. The Senators efforts to retain him should be helped by new broadcasting revenue. Their coffers will be bolstered starting this season by the NHL's new television deal with Rogers' Sportsnet, as well as their new 12-year regional deal with Bell Media.
It remains to be seen, however, how much of that revenue will go toward player payroll, let alone if the Senators are willing to pay Ryan the hefty raise necessary to keep him in Ottawa. The Senators' performance this season will also be a key factor in determining Ryan's future.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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