Despite a disappointing exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Ottawa Senators head into the summer in a pretty good spot. They’re golden as far as the financial stuff is concerned, with no cap related issues at this point, even with it coming down. They have very few free agents that they’ll have to deal with, or that would even cause an issue.
The free agents that the Senators do have to deal with are either of the veteran-at-the-end-of-their-career variety (Daniel Alfredsson, Sergei Gonchar) or are depth players that may or may not have earned new contracts. Neither one will present a great deal of urgency, as the former need to decide whether they plan on playing before contract talks can begin.
One player that should garner some attention as far as the free agents for the Senators are concerned is that of Erik Condra. Condra is one of two restricted free agents that the Senators need to be paying attention to. While he’s not a key part of their offensive attack, he’s a key player in other ways for Ottawa.
Condra is a player capable of throwing in some secondary points, but he’s not a player that’s going to be relied upon for offense. He had only 12 points in 48 games this season, coming off of a career high 25 points in 2011-12. He’s not an overly physical guy either. So just what makes Condra valuable to this team? It’s his defensive play.
The Senators were the second best defensive club in the league, allowing just 2.08 goals per game during the regular season. They also boasted the league’s best penalty kill, going 88 percent for the season. A lot of that is due to the play of Condra. He averaged over two minutes shorthanded per game, technically second on the club among forwards, if you count Kaspars Daugavins and his 19 games.
Condra will earn a new contract with his defensive play. He’ll get a two or a three-year deal probably, on the lower end of the financial spectrum. Again, he’s not a key piece of their offense, but he’s as steady a defensive forward as they come. Meaning he should be a priority for this club this summer.