Preliminary Look At This Years Free Agent Defensemen


2015 NHL Free Agency begins on July 1st, and you can bet that the Ottawa Senators will be taking a close look at the market, especially on defense. Despite Bryan Murray’s constant desires for another top six forward, I find it hard to believe that they won’t pursue a free agent defenseman in the summer. Clearly it is the teams weakness, and although free agency markets look worse and worse every year, there are still some quality depth options available.

The timing of this post is perfect, because all over twitter today people have been posting links to this new site called It is essentially meant to replace Cap Geek, and so far it is doing a good job. Obviously it will take a long time to add new tools to the site, but from what it looks like, the creators want to keep adding, including having an Armchair GM just like Cap Geek did.

The site is a great tool and will only get better. The first thing I wanted to look at was this years free agent defensemen crop. There’s no perfect way to sort the player just yet, but the most obvious way was by cap hit. Here is the first portion of the top defensemen (at least by cap hit):

There’s 14 players at the top of the list, and they can be grouped accordingly. If I were Ottawa, there is only seven players that I would actually consider signing. Those players are Mike Green, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek, Christian Ehrhoff, Francois Beauchemin, Johnny Oduya, and Cody Franson. But even after narrowing it down to that group, there are still some players that would be unrealistic signs.

Considering the success of the Washington Capitals right now, I’d be surprised if Green left Washington. Even if he did, he would command a similar cap hit to what he has now, or even more. There’s no way the Senators could afford that. Franson is in a similar situation, as he will get paid no matter where he goes. His cap hit will be at least $4.5 million, maybe even more.

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Ehrhoff took a one year deal in Pittsburgh because he wanted to win. I see no scenario in which he comes to Ottawa, so that’s unrealistic. So that leaves us with Michalek, Martin, Beauchemin, and Oduya. Out of those four, I would love to get Michalek and Oduya, but I just can’t see Oduya coming to Ottawa, especially if he wants even more money.

Martin and Beauchemin have been great players, but they’re 34 years old now, and I’d be weary of signing them. If the Senators were able to sign them to one or two year deals, then I would be all for it. But overall from the first group, Michalek seems like a very realistic option considering he’s been linked to Ottawa before because of his brother Milan.

Now let’s look at the next 15 defensemen in order of cap hit:

These are the types of players that the Senators will most likely pursue because they won’t be getting paid too much. However, out of the 15 there are only three that intrigue me enough to want to sign them. Those three are Jeff Petry, Andrej Sekera, and Adam McQuaid. All of the other players would be a lot more interesting if they were a few years younger, but truthfully I wouldn’t want to sign someone past 35 years old, and I doubt Ottawa does too.

Despite there being only three options, I really like Petry and Sekera. I would consider signing McQuaid too, but I worry that Ottawa already has a lite version of him in Mark Borowiecki. I’ve advocated for trading for Petry and/or Sekera before, and it would be smart to snatch one of them up. The problem is, they will command much bigger salaries than they previously have.

My gut says that Michalek is the one who ends up with the Senators

I would not be shocked at all to see both of them get $4 million + on their cap hits, which is what they deserve. However, if they are willing to take less, then the Senators should be all over that. Petry is the better option simply because he is a right-handed shot, but they would both be fantastic additions. This could be the teams probable top-four next year if they could make that addition:



No matter what the third pairing is, that is a solid top two pairings, and all it takes is some money. Will they actually be able to sign Petry or Sekera? It’s doubtful, but there are other options.

Overall, the pickings are slim for free agency. I would say some good and realistic options for Ottawa are Michalek, Petry, Sekera, and Oduya, but my gut says that Michalek is the one who ends up with the Senators.

They can’t build the leagues best defense through free agency, but they can make them much more competent, and it starts on July 1st.

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