Condra signs two-year extension

The Ottawa Senators are bringing back their top penalty killer.

After spending parts of the past three seasons killing penalties and defending leads alongside Daniel Alfredsson, pesky checker Erik Condra respects the decision of the former Ottawa Senators captain to move on to the Detroit Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent.

Condra, who lives outside Detroit, even offered up his condo if the Alfredsson clan is looking for a place to stay during the 2013-14 season.

Yet when it comes to Alfredsson’s suggestions he left because the Red Wings have a better shot at winning the Stanley Cup, Condra begs to differ, claiming the comments will serve as motivation for the Senators next season.

“That’s (Alfredsson’s) opinion, he has been in the league long enough,” said Condra, who signed a two-year, $2.5 million extension with the Senators Friday, avoiding salary arbitration. “But it gives us a little bit of an incentive, I think.”

Condra is anxious to play against his Alfredsson and his “home team”, which moves to the Eastern Conference from the West next season.

“That’s a big signing for them, they got him and (Stephen) Weiss and they’re making a big push for the Cup,” he said. “But I’m excited to go after Alfie a little bit.”

While few outsiders would label the re-signing of Condra as a “big signing”, the 26-year-old serves an invaluable role as the club’s top penalty killer. He’s a player coach Paul MacLean trusts with the Senators defending late leads.

“We were one of the top teams on (the penalty kill) and he had the most minutes on our team, so that’s a big part of our game and his game,” assistant general manager Tim Murray said in an audio statement released by the team. “We hope we can just keep helping him improve his offensive game and he can be around for awhile.”

Condra scored four goals and eight assists in 48 regular season games last season and led the team’s forwards with 32 blocked shots. In 10 playoff games, Condra had one goal and six assists, fourth in team scoring, finding chemistry on a line with Colin Greening and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

Condra’s value to the team, however, isn’t measured in offensive statistics Condra, 26, who has scored 18 goals and 30 assists in 155 regular season games during his career with the Senators, says he’s “excited” to be back with a team where he believes he fits in well and where he has earned the respect of the coaching staff.

He’s also glad to have avoided salary arbitration, an exercise he says can sometimes leave “bad water in everyone’s mouth” and understands why the guys with the big statistics earn the big money deals.

“That’s how the league is and the goal scorers can do things that not a lot of guys can do,” he said. “With the salary cap it pushes some guys back, but I’m happy with the contract.”

Condra has been busy since the Senators second round playoff exit.

When Ottawa’s season ended, he took part in a three-game tour of Australia, showcasing hockey to the population Down Under, while also raising money for stopconcussions.com, an organization set up by former NHL star Keith Primeau to draw attention to head injuries.

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