Senators re-sign Da Costa, Alfredsson the only question left

With 13 forwards already on one-way contracts, including the fence-sitting Daniel Alfredsson, Stephane Da Costa is going to have to be very good to earn a spot on the Ottawa Senators next season.

Senators re-sign Da Costa, Alfredsson the only question left

With 13 forwards already on one-way contracts, including the fence-sitting Daniel Alfredsson, Stephane Da Costa is going to have to be very good to earn a spot on the Ottawa Senators next season.

The 23-year-old centre signed a one-year, two-way contract with the team on Wednesday.

He’ll make $800,000 if he plays in the NHL, but only $80,000 if he plays in Binghamton.

That will give the Senators a bit of financial breathing room, since it’s not a lot of fun to pay a player an NHL salary to play in the AHL.

They could give themselves a bit more Thursday if they decide to waive Bobby Butler and his $1.2 million salary for the purpose of buying him out.

He would have to clear waivers before the team could buy him out.

With the signing of Da Costa, the only question left for the Senators is whether Alfredsson, 39, will return for another season.

There is some thought that he will, but no one on either side was prepared to offer a definitive, or even speculative, comment on Wednesday.

Da Costa, 23, started the 2011-12 season with Ottawa, but couldn’t get much going offensively. He got only three goals and two assists in 22 games.

So on Nov. 27 he was assigned to the Binghamton Senators and stayed there for the rest of the season.

The native of Paris, France, had better luck there, getting 13 goals and 23 assists in 46 games.

Assistant general manager Tim Murray said Da Costa still has work to do refining his game but he shows promise.

“We recognize his talent level and his offensive ability with the puck and his vision on the ice, and it’s all first class,” said Murray.

“We just feel if he can get stronger, get used to playing against the higher competition, and be a more consistent player away from the puck, he’s got a chance to play in the NHL.”

Da Costa was originally signed by the Senators as an undrafted college free agent on March 31, 2011, after two NCAA seasons with Hockey East’s Merrimack College.

In 67 career college games, he had 30 goals, 60 assists and 83 penalty minutes.

Da Costa, the only French-born player ever to be signed by the Senators, has represented his native France at each of the last four world hockey championships.

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