Senators Are Wasting Money In The Press Box


Ottawa saved their season last night, and a win next game in Montreal could make this series quite interesting. It’s still 3-1, but I don’t feel as if it’s over just yet. Anyway, I feel like an undiscussed topic is the amount of money the Senators are wasting on bottom six forwards and scratches. The team finally realized many of these players aren’t needed, and later in the season they were put in the press box during the games.

However, that doesn’t mean their presence isn’t felt. By that, I mean their presence in Ottawa’s check book. Yesterday night Ottawa’s scratches were Alex Chiasson, Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, David Legwand, Chris Phillips, and a host of AHL call-ups that don’t count towards the cap. That is one expensive group that also isn’t going to help the team very much.

More from SenShot

Let’s also consider some players who have been scratches recently, which include Chris Neil and Zack Smith. There is also one other player that isn’t on the cap right now in Robin Lehner, but he is different because he is still actually a valuable piece. Nevertheless, I’ll include him just to illustrate the amount of money that is sitting on the sidelines.

Here are the eight players in descending order of cap hit (these numbers were found at

Jared Cowen- $3.1 million, 2 years left

David Legwand- $3 million, 1 year left

Chris Phillips- $2.5 million, 1 year left

Colin Greening- $2.294 million, 2 years left

Robin Lehner- $2.225 million, 2 years left

Chris Neil- $1.9 million, 1 year left

Zack Smith- $1.887 million, 2 years left

Alex Chiasson- $0.900 million, final year (RFA)

In total, these eight players add up to an exorbitant cap hit of $17.806 million. For a group of players that are nothing more than depth players, that’s a ridiculous amount of bad spending. If Ottawa wants to keep their young restricted free agents like Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone, and Mike Hoffman, they need to shed some salary. Luckily it shouldn’t be a hard decision on who to ship out, but the bad thing is that I’m not sure who would want these players.

And of course, not all of these players are the same. For example, I still think Lehner should be an important part of the future, but if you keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond, Lehner and his cap hit will have to go. Also, I’m fine with having Chiasson on the fourth line, although he can be quite the frustrating player. I don’t have very high hopes for him, and he shouldn’t be too expensive.

Cowen is the most expensive here, and I think he was the biggest mistake. He still has two years left on his deal, and he’s hardly played over the last few months. I’m not sure if anyone else in the league thinks he’s capable of being just an average defender, but if there is I hope Bryan Murray tries to drop him off to whatever team that is.

Legwand hasn’t been the worst fourth line player either, but his cap hit is too big. He was a scratch last game, so obviously he’s losing his credibility game by game. He’s not an important part of the team. Phillips is in the same boat, but he looks ten times more lost on the ice in my opinion. It really is sad, because he has been a big part of this team for years. But it’s time for him to move on, as I highly doubt he can be effective next year. Murray should have cut ties with him last year.

Almost $18 million is nothing to scoff at, and the Senators need to spend more wisely

Then there’s Greening and Smith, who were forgotten men this year. I had forgotten Smith existed at one point, and there’s really no need for him on this team. A minimum salary AHL call-up like Shane Prince could do the same (and probably better) job. Also, Ottawa wants Greening out so bad, but literally nobody in the league wants to take on his salary. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t bought out.

Finally there’s Neil, who I don’t actually mind playing these last two games, but all in all it is a bit of a waste of a $1.9 million cap hit. Sadly (or fortunately for some of you), he still has one year left on his deal after this year. All of these deals might not seem like much individually, but in a vacuum they are a huge deal.

Almost $18 million is nothing to scoff at, and the Senators need to spend more wisely. The absolute worst case scenario would be having one of our RFA’s offer sheeted, and the team not being able to afford one of them. Obviously not all of these players will be gone, but I’d be happy if they were able to shed maybe half of them.

If somehow all of this money is freed up, that gives the team money to re-sign Zibanejad, Stone, Hoffman, and Condra, as well as bring in a couple of quality defensemen. It’s a pipe dream, but if the team had been smart earlier, we wouldn’t be in this situation. It’s clear who’s part of the core moving forward, and most of the healthy scratches aren’t part of it.

Next: Mike Hoffman Helps Senators Avoid Sweep, Series Set At 3-1