Eugene Melnyk’s checkbook is the only enticing factor of the Ottawa Senators.
The playoffs are almost here, and for the Ottawa Senators they can’t come soon enough.
Yes, they’ve won two straight over two playoff teams (St. Louis and Toronto) but when you’re the worst team in the league with less than a month to go in the season, the impact of wins is lessened. It would be better to get this offseason over with, like ripping a wax strip off of your leg.
With how the Senators have performed on the ice and in the front office, it’s going to be very difficult to entice free agents to come to Ottawa. But if Eugene Melnyk is willing to spend the money, the Sens may be able to ice a competitive team next season.
Cash Money…That Funky Money
The Senators are heading into a free agency period with eight expiring contracts on their NHL roster. Oscar Lindberg, Brian Gibbons, Colin White, Magnus Pääjärvi, Anthony Duclair, Cody Ceci, Christian Wolanain and Anders Nilsson all need new deals.
Most of those names don’t excite Sens fans, and only a few of them are worth brining back into the fold. But if the Senators wanted to re-sign them, they would have just over $34 million in cap space to do so.
That would give them the most cap space in the NHL heading into the 2019-20 season. That’s more than enough to re-sign guys like Duclair and Pääjärvi and potentially splurge to get mid-tier free agents like Richard Pánik, Michael Ferland or Brett Connolly to help flesh put the Senators’ roster. It wouldn’t be a President’s Trophy winning lineup, but it would certainly be watchable.
Open Your Wallet Eugene!
But we all know how this is going to go. Despite all of that cap space, the Sens are going to hold onto their precious dollars like their lives depend on it. They definitely aren’t going to go after a big-fish free agent like Artemi Panarin or (Ironically) Erik Karlsson.
But maybe, one night in the next few months, Eugene Melnyk will be visited by three spirits. The ghosts of Ottawa’s past will come to the owner, who will see the error of his ways and become a better human being willing to do whatever it takes to make the Ottawa Senators competitive again. Yes, it’s a ludicrous idea, but believing in that is better than the current predicament facing Sens fans.