Ottawa Senators' roster evolves as free agency opens

By Matthew Kirkpatrick

The Ottawa Senators will look quite a bit different when the puck drops on the 2012/13 season in October as general manager Bryan Murray did some serious tinkering with the club’s roster as free agency opened Sunday afternoon.

First, the Ottawa Senators signed a pair of former Minnesota Wild players in defenceman Mike Lundin, and Guillaume Latendresse.

Latendresse signed a one year pact with the Senators for $1.25 million, and is projected to play on the teams top two lines. He is coming off an injury plagued season that saw him play only 16 games for the Wild after sustaining a concussion in early November.

This signing is definitely a gamble, but at his relatively cheap price tag it could pay off big time if the former Montreal Canadiens’ second round pick can return form, but that is a big-big if.

If he comes to training camp in shape, which is rumoured to not be the norm for Latendresse, it will be a good sign that he is ready to turn the page on his career, and try to regain the form that saw him score 25 goals in the 2009/10 season.

Lundin also signed a one year deal with the Ottawa Senators that will pay him $1.15 million.

He is coming off sports hernia surgery, but is said to be fully recovered.

This can only be viewed as a depth move for the organization. At best I see Lundin as a seventh defenceman who could bounce back and forth between the ice, the pressbox, and Binghamton.

Lundin is known as a defensive defenceman who skates well, and likes to fly under the radar.

“I’m not flashy,” said Lundin, “you probably won’t notice a lot of me out there — but hopefully, I’m just doing my job and staying kind of quiet. Hopefully, I can have the chance to skate against some other teams’ top lines and use my speed and good stick and be able to help control other teams’ offences.”

Next Murray shipped former first round pick Nick Foligno to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Ottawa native Marc Methot.

Another defensive defenceman, Methot is big (6’3″, 227 pounds), and is expected to play in the club’s top four next year.

“He’s going to be a guy who can fit in, whether it be with Karlsson or Ceci or one of our young offensive-type defencemen in the future,” said Bryan Murray.

With those comments it is clear that Methot will be expected to cover up any defensive mistakes by the young guns while they try to generate offence from the back end.

This day was not all about what the Ottawa Senators added to their roster, but also what they lost.

The team was unable, or unwilling to match the big tickets that were given to some of it’s UFAs yesterday as the Senators bid adieu to Filip Kuba who signed a two year deal with the Florida Panthers that will pay him $8 million.

Also lost were tough guys Zenon Konopka and Matt Carkner.

Konopka will ply his trade next season in Minnesota as he signed a two year deal with the Wild worth $1.85 million, and Carkner moved on to the New York Islanders as they ponied up a three year deal that will pay the rugged defenceman $4.5 million.

The Senators will have a hard time replacing the grit and tenacity that these two men brought to the table, and it seems it will be up to Ottawa mainstay Chris Neil to settle all the scores next season.

I believe Murray will still be on the look out for a top-six forward to use as insurance if the Latendresse project doesn’t pan out, and the club should also look to add more toughness to off set the loss of Konopka and Carkner.



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