Summer signing season has arrived for Murray

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is just getting started on his summer to-do list.

Summer signing season has arrived for Murray

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is just getting started on his summer to-do list.

— Draft highly competitive power forward who can score goals and play with an edge? Check.

— Re-stock the organizational cupboard with long-term prospects in goal, defence and up front? Check.

— Convince captain Daniel Alfredsson to return? Check.

— Sign Alfredsson and four other pending free agents (Erik Condra, Andre Benoit, Patrick Wiercioch and Mark Borowiecki) to new contracts? X

— Lock up reigning Jack Adams Trophy-winning coach Paul MacLean to a long-term extension when his current contract expires following the 2013-14 season? X

— Find a proven, high-scoring winger in his late ’20s who can immediately deliver consistent offence, preferably playing alongside No. 1 centre Jason Spezza? X

Needless to say, Murray still has plenty of work to do.

“It doesn’t stop,” he said while wrapping up the weekend’s events here before returning to Ottawa on Canada Day. “It gets more interesting, I suppose.”

Murray left the Big Apple content with the work of the team’s scouts, led by assistant GM Tim Murray and director of player personnel Pierre Dorion. The team explored the possibility of moving into a higher spot, but top 10 picks were equivalent to gold and they weren’t going to get moved for anything short of a king’s ransom. Or Erik Karlsson.

“We feel pretty good about (first-round pick Curtis Lazar),” said Murray. “We got a fairly high-ranked player in the first round.”

As always, we won’t know just how successful the Senators were until several years down the road.

The Alfredsson contract will get done at some point — Murray and J.P. Barry, Alfredsson’s agent, talked for 45 minutes Saturday — and it could end up being a two-year deal.

“It’s not necessarily one year and he might want to play for 10 more years,” Murray joked about his 40-year-old captain. “He’s just a guy who seems to thrive on playing.”

The talks to bring back unrestricted free agent Benoit could be intriguing, considering there figures to be several decent veteran defencemen available on the open market due to the shrinking of the salary cap to $63 million. Condra and Wiercioch are restricted free agents and the Senators have maintained their rights by giving them qualifying offers, but both can make compelling arguments for substantial raises. Condra has established himself as the club’s top penalty killer. Wiercioch has proven he’s an everyday NHL defenceman, with the potential to be an offensive catalyst now that Sergei Gonchar has been traded to the Dallas Stars.

While MacLean is in no rush to sign an extension — “we have other priorities right now,” he said Saturday — the five-year deals handed out to Alain Vigneault in New York, Dave Tippett in Phoenix and John Tortorella in Vancouver put him in an excellent bargaining position.

Murray was also downplaying suggestions of a blockbuster free agent signing. The Senators are operating on a self-imposed $50 million salary cap.

“There are some people that are possibilities, but it has to do with contract numbers and some teams can’t afford (them),” said Murray. “We’re almost in the same position (as before) with the budget. I don’t think we’ll be able to make big moves unless it’s a trade.”

kwarren@ottawacitizen.com

Twitter.com/Citizenkwarren

Tags: , ,

What do you think? Leave a comment