Murray considers Senators a contender despite goalie woes

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray expects goaltenders Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott will shape up once the regular season starts, but he’s confident he has another NHL-ready netminder if need be.

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray expects goaltenders Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott will shape up once the regular season starts, but he’s confident he has another NHL-ready netminder waiting in the wings.

In an end-of-preseason state of the union scrum with Ottawa reporters, Murray raved about Robin Lehner’s confidence and said the top prospect is capable of stepping in if need be.

“I certainly didn’t like the number of goals we gave up in the last couple of games by (Leclaire and Elliott), but I think we played the last couple of games also like they were preseason games — let’s get them over with and get serious about playing,” Murray said Tuesday morning at Scotiabank Place.

“We know, to be a contending team, you have to have good goaltending, and I believe they’re both capable of that,” he added. “They have to go do it now.”

Murray believes he has a contending team, suggesting the Senators will duke it out with the Boston Bruins at the top of the division all season.

So what happens if the Senators play well, but their goaltenders start costing them games? The general manager pointed out his options are limited and that he just expected them to play well.

“We know their capability…there’s a few guys on our team that didn’t have great camps and it’s not just goaltending,” he explained. “I’m expecting that when they drop the puck for the real, the focus will be that they are what they are.

“That’s all you ever ask of a pro,” Murray continued. “Be what you are ,and that will be a good enough.”

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- Murray said Mike Fisher and Chris Neil will be ready to go for the Senators’ season-opener on Friday despite some bumps and bruises. Defenceman Filip Kuba is still expected to miss the first three weeks of the season.

- Lehner isn’t the only player Murray considers NHL-ready. He used the same description for defencemen Patrick Wiercioch and Jared Cowen as well. The former will start the season with AHL Binghamton, while Cowen was returned to his junior club for the season. He said it’s important that the team do the right thing for its young players and let them develop at the right pace.

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