Ottawa Senators: All Quiet On The Western Front


NHL free agency is just less than a day away, and everything is quite quiet amongst the Ottawa Senators organization. There has been a plethora of action in the past week surrounding the Robin Lehner/Eric Gryba trades, the draft, and other signings, but heading into free agency it looks like they won’t be too active.

Bryan Murray has said that he’s happy with the roster right now and he doesn’t anticipate any big signings. You can watch his post-draft interview here where he talks a bit about everything:

It’s interesting that now he’s not so worried about acquiring a top-six forward, as he knows the best chance he had of getting one was in a Robin Lehner trade. But now in free agency, there aren’t any attractive options that will come cheap. I still think it would be smart to buy low on a free agent forward this summer (along with re-signing Erik Condra), but that would mean shedding more salary which is easier said than done.

Regarding Condra, we should be hearing soon about him:

So it’s a good sign that Ottawa at least has on offer on the table and that they value him. However, I doubt they value him as much as the analytics community does. Lots of people out there are thinking just like I am on this:

Kevin sums it up perfectly, as it’s not like Condra will break the bank. The problem is Ottawa still has a bunch of useless contracts so they can’t afford him. So $2 million for him seems like a lot while in reality that’s what he should get paid.

Somehow after his solid play, plenty of fans out there are fine with letting him walk.

Now that there’s news that he’s seeking a three-year contract, many are wanting the Senators to not give in. But I’d gladly give him that term, because he’s 29 so it’s not like three years is forever. He will give the team good value because you know what you’re getting. I don’t think Ottawa has offered him three years though which is too bad.

At this stage I don’t think he’ll come back and he will be a very productive bottom six player elsewhere. There are lots of teams out there who are getting smarter and they will be all over Condra once he hits free agency. He may be replaceable, but it will take a hell of a possession driver to do that.

Outside of re-signing Condra, there probably won’t be too much action for the Senators. They have eight defenseman right now, although there’s a (very slim) chance that they will try to move another one. At forward, they also have quite a number of bodies. If you include Colin Greening and Condra, they have 14 players, and that’s without including young players like Shane Prince, Matt Puempel, and Buddy Robinson who are looking to get a spot on the team.

The Senators still need a couple more pieces to be legitimate contenders

So I can’t see them signing another forward, even though it would be smart to get rid of players like Chris Neil, Zack Smith, Colin Greening and then sign a cheap bottom six player. A Sportsnet article listed some potential free agents Ottawa could look at, and it isn’t too exciting. The list has Condra, Brad Boyes, Daniel Winnik, Shawn Matthias, and Joel Ward. I would love to have one of those players, but they won’t be major signings.

In the end I don’t even think any of those players (besides Condra perhaps) will be signed, as Ottawa barely has any room for them. The Senators still need a couple more pieces to be legitimate contenders, but that’s hard to do when you have an internal budget and too many bad contracts.

Don’t expect Bryan Murray to be busy tomorrow, as his search for another forward may have already ended. I sincerely hope Condra is still a Senator by the end of the day as well.

Next: NHL Comparisons For Ottawa Senators Draft Picks

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