The Ottawa Senators Should Make Room To Retain Erik Condra


Erik Condra, Ottawa Senators UFA

Birthplace: Trenton, Michigan

Birthdate: Aug 6, 1986 (28 years old)

Shoots: Right

Height/Weight: 6’0″/190lbs

2014-15 Stats: 68GP, 9G, 14A

The general feeling among Sens fans and speculators is that Bryan Murray won’t re-sign unrestricted free agent Erik Condra because the Senators have a log-jam of forwards under contract right now. Colin Greening, Curtis Lazar, David Legwand, Clarke MacArthur, Milan Michalek, Chris Neil, Bobby Ryan, Zack Smith, and Kyle Turris are all under contract for the 2015/16 season, and Alex Chiasson, Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, and Mika Zibanejad (all RFAs) are expected to reach agreements with the team.

Just counting them up proves Murray has some juggling to do.

Apr 24, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Ottawa Senators forward Erik Condra (22) scores a goal against Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Is Erik Condra a fit in Ottawa?

We all know he is. The career Senator has been a reliable role-playing 3rd/4th liner, providing mostly healthy seasons. But as Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen pointed out, his “strong forecheck, rock-solid defensive play and excellent penalty killing means Condra should attract attention on the open market.” If he attracts enough attention as a valuable role-player, he may drift out of Bryan Murray’s budget. Considering also that Murray has publicly stated his interest in adding a Top 6 forward, the curtain appears to be falling on Condra’s Ottawa stage.

The only way Condra stays is if Murray starts trading, which is possible, but would be very tricky for the GM to execute. Murray would have to make trades while dangling a re-signing line to Condra. Does that plot leave you with a familiar sense of foreboding? It should. Murray did it while making the Bobby Ryan trade and dangling in front of Daniel Alfredsson. Our old beloved captain didn’t seem to appreciate it much, and shipped off to Detroit.

Should Erik Condra remain in Ottawa?

As with Alfie before him, Condra, though obviously not as valuable, is another career Senator worth retaining. The scouting report on him correctly assesses him as a “sound, versatile defensive winger” who “is extremely industrious. Kills penalties with aplomb.” 

More from Free Agency

His stats support the report.

Condra is Ottawa’s best penalty killer. And not by a little– by a lot. He spent 149:35 killing penalties last season– 22 minutes more than David Legwand, and about 2:20 per game. His Corsi/60 was 11.23 while shorthanded, 1.07 better than Kyle Turris, and 5.65 better than Legwand.

There are good arguments to make to trade players like Greening, Legwand, Neil, and Smith. Room can be made to keep him around, and room should be made. None of those players is as valuable as Condra on the penalty kill. None of them jelled with Lazar and Pageau like Condra did. Legwand scored 4 more points, but never seemed to score big goals or play in an important role.


It may be a challenge for GM Bryan Murray to shuffle his roster and re-sign Erik Condra, but he should. He should try to unload Greening, Legwand, Neil, or Smith, maybe packaging them creatively to net a decent defenceman, perhaps another Marc Methot.

As long as he doesn’t sting Condra along like he did Alfredsson, he should re-sign the energetic, forechecking, penalty-killer.