Ottawa Senators: Offseason Plans (part 3/3)

By Matthew Kirkpatrick

The Ottawa Senators may look to upgrade their forward group over the summer, Bryan Murray will try to bring in the elusive top six forward, and he has cash to spend, but who fits?

Last season the Ottawa Senators forwards did a good job of putting points on the board.

They were led by centre Jason Spezza, who finished fourth in league scoring with 86 points, and Milan Michalek’s 35 goals.

Throw in steady second line centre Kyle Turris, and the Senators have a formidable group, but still questions remain.

The first, and most obvious question that must be answered is: what is Daniel Alfredsson going to do?

If the Ottawa Senators long-time captain decides to retire it will leave a gaping hole in the teams offense, and Murray will have to be more aggressive in acquiring forward talent either through free agency, or via trade.

New Jersey Devil’s captain Zach Parise will be at the top of his wish list, but he will be sought after by all 30 teams, and with his current team pushing towards the Stanley Cup it may turn out that Parise decides to stay right where he is.

It is more likely that one of Jakob Silfverberg, or Mika Zibanejad would step in to fill the spot left by Alfredsson, or push Nick Foligno, and Colin Greening into bottom-six checking roles if the captain decides to return for another year.

Murray has done a good job of stock piling young talent, and the two young Swedes, along with Mark Stone will push for full time roster spots next season.

All three have the talent to step into a top-six role, but the question remains: can they get the job done consistently over an 82 game season?

There has been some talk about bringing back Chris Kelly, and I personally think that would be a great move, if the price was right.

Kelly currently carries a cap hit of $2.125 million which is a little steep for a third line centre especially when you factor in Zack Smith’scap friendly $700,000 price tag, and the recent resigning of Peter Regin and suddenly bringing Kelly back just doesn’t make much sense from a salary cap perspective.

Murray has said that he will have some decisions to make regarding the team’s RFA’s, and that he will not automatically present them all with qualifying offers.

This means that Kaspars Daugavins, Jim O’Brien, and Foligno are all on the bubble.

Not to mention playoff warrior Zenon Konopka, Jesse Winchester, and Rob Klinkhammer are all in search of new deals as UFAs.

I would be surprised if Konopka was not brought back as the teams fourth line centre. He was a good soldier all year, and has roots in Ottawa that date back to his time with the 67’s.

Murray has always put a lot of stock into players from the area because they have less of a tendency to bolt for greener pastures a la Dany Heatley.

Check back here at Rant Sports all summer for more Ottawa Senators news.


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