Now that most of the major question marks have been dealt with, I've decided to go and re-evaluate my previous post. Brian Murray has already made decisions on two of the four toss-ups of my last post in trading Gonchar and giving Gui the pink slip as well as waiving another contract in Kaspars. The decisions that remain consist largely of internal or forgone conclusions for the organization. As of now the Senators organization has 39 contracts signed, with at least 4 more immediate positions that HAVE to be filled in the depth chart in Bingo and Ottawa.
Erik Condra: He has largely cemented his role in the lineup and was trusted in all situations by the coaching staff. Unless he somehow becomes a piece in a trade, he will be re-signed.
Patrick Wiercioch: Finished second in scoring for rookie defenceman (not to mention playing considerably less than Schultz did) and played well in his admittedly sheltered minutes. Needs another summer of bulking up, but otherwise looks to be a lock to be signed, especially considering Ottawa's lack of depth at the NHL level.
Stephane Da Costa: A proven scorer at the AHL level, only size, strength (and questions of conditioning) prevent him from succeeding at the NHL level. Likely will be re-signed, but also the most likely trade piece of the RFA's.
Mike Hoffman: Injuries hampered his shot at the NHL, but the Murray's have publicly noted they expect him to challenge for a roster spot in camp. Virtual lock to be re-signed.
David Dziurzynski: Great year in Binghamton, along with a decent though not noteworthy stretch in the NHL prior to injury. If he is signed it will be a two-way and any position in the NHL beyond the bottom six is unlikely.
Louie Caporusso; WILL NOT BE BACK. College career went well, professional year has not. Was unable to crack the Bingo roster even late in the year with injuries and call ups.
So out of the RFA's, Ottawa will likely sign 5 more contracts, with a possibility of only four. (Total 43-44 so far)
Now the UFA'S:
Peter Regin: The Great Dane is almost surely no more.
Mike Lundin: Gone
Daniel Alfredsson: God can do whatever he wants, but for arguments sake assume he does.
Andre Benoit: Really hard to say, could be resigned for depth, or could walk. (Toss Up)
Hugh Jessiman: Gone.
Nathan Lawson: Whether he re-sign's is irrelevant to this discussion as another goaltender will than be signed to a contract in his place.
So out of the current UFA's Ottawa will have between 1 and 3 contracts signed. (Total 44-46). However the lack of depth at the back end suggests another defenceman will be signed in Ottawa so assume another. (45-47) To put in perspective what we have signed for the NHL D:
Cowen-(assumed roster spot for Wiercioch)
Claesson (Sophmore) -Wideman (Sophmore)
Blood (Sophmore) -Rutkowski (Rookie)
^ A nice group of prospects (Eckford excluded), but none project to be top four players next year. I like Ceci, but the Murray's have been historically conservative in Ottawa for development on the back-end, even Karlsson spent some time in Bingo.
As of not it appears there will not be a problem. Ottawa will enter the draft weekend with between 3-4 contract spots open to begin next year. As one assumes the first-round pick will sign his contract not long after (Ceci's was signed in a month), Ottawa will likely have only 2-3 contracts to work with next year. The Murray's skillfully worked around the contract situation for this year (thank you PTO's :P) and only have to muddle through one more year before 2014 hits along with a slew of contracts ending and having to be dealt with. (Incidentally when Brian Murray's contract is up.)