Email Hot Stove: Who Should the Ottawa Senators Sign During Free-Agent Frenzy?

Rick Stewart

After finding a hidden gem in Clarke MacArthur, can the Sens strike gold again this year?

Question: What free agents do you think the Ottawa Senators should target during free agent frenzy and why? What term would you give those players (or is realistic for the Sens to offer)?

Ary: I would've originally signed Hemsky for $5M, but instead, I'd sign Mikhail Grabovski for 2 years, 3.5M as he can play in a variety of roles and will supplement the loss of Spezza a bit.

I'd also sign either Tom Gilbert to a 2yr, $2.5M contract. I think he can get more and was so undervalued last year. Really held his own in Florida, and can play top-4 on this team.
Also, contingent on the Jason Spezza trade bringing back a forward or d-man, I would be open to signing Nikolai Kulemin or Ron Hainsey to similar deals as their past contract (~3M). These guys may not be big names, and some are former Leafs, but all excel possession-wise against solid competition and have a two-way aspect that will really help us in the defensive zone re: positioning and breakouts.

Mrs. O: Fun fact: In GM mode on NHL14, I tried to sign Hainsey and he wasn't interested in playing for the Sens. I dislike him.

Sheer Craziness: I want to see how stuff shakes down in Pittsburgh with their D. I'd be interested in approaching any of the guys they let go. I'd also look at Alex Martinez on LA if they let him go, but after this playoff run, I can't see them doing that.

Then, as Ary said, Gilbert and Hainsey would both be worth approaching if we need to shore up the D. Basically, I'd like us to pick up at least one more D. I'm ok running with AHL callups to start with on forward, but I have no faith in our defense group for next year.

Peter: I'm with Ary on the Gilbert signing--that would be a great acquisition and would be well within our budgetary constraints. Of course, my first choice among UFAs is Stralman, but if that doesn't work Gilbert would be a good consolation prize.

Up front, I think Mike Cammalleri could offer good value on a short-term deal; he might be available for as little as $9M over two years, and I bet he'd fit in nicely as the veteran presence on a line with Zibanejad and either Mark Stone (although based on Bryan Murray's recent comments, we may see Milan Michalek re-signed and occupying that LW2 spot). Kulemin has been mentioned, and I think he or Lee Stempniak would be decent fill-ins as right wingers with offensive abilities on the second or third line. Finally, Devin Setoguchi could be a good depth signing if his demands are reasonable (i.e. less than $2.5M AAV).

I'd love to propose Gaborik, Vanek, Stastny, or Hemsky, but those names are out of our realm of possibility.

Mrs. O: Yes, that's what makes picking difficult. I like the proposition of Gilbert as well. I think he'd be a hidden gem.

I'd wonder if Cammalleri would come here - him and Spezza are buds and perhaps he'd talk to Spezza first about the organization, which I'm not sure would be a good thing right now. I'd like to see Stastny out of the bigger names. I thought of Setoguchi as well, I'd be fine with him here too.

For me, I'd maybe make a pitch at:
a) Radim Vrbata at 2 years x 3M. Guy has the potential to put up 60 pts (generally hits the 40-50 pt mark) so he'd bring in some production. He's a little older, so I wouldn't sign him more than 2-3 years. He's fairly cheap and since he plays in PHX, he probably flies under the radar and may be a pleasant surprise. He's also Czech and if we re-sign Milo, there would be probably a connection.
b) Anton Stralman at 3 years X 3M. Guy is underrated and I think in the shadow of Staal, McDonagh, and Girardi. I like what I saw in the playoffs from him. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gifnkb: I'd love Stralman too-- he did supposedly reject a 3x3 contract around the Olympic Break though. I think he's worth more like 5x5.

nkb: I'd love Stralman too-- he did supposedly reject a 3x3 contract around the Olympic Break though. I think he's worth more like 5x5

Mrs. O: If I was GM I'd offer him more than my original offer...just going by Ottawa standards = low-ball because of internal budget.

Peter: Yup, sadly, Stralman has already said no to a three-year, $9M deal, so that's a no go. His AAV's probably gonna be at least $4M on a mid- to long-term deal. Vrbata's an interesting name, though... I think that could work, though I'm not sure $3M will be enough to get it done.

Mrs. O: I just looked at their current cap hits and our current cheapness. Realistically, I'd offer Stralman 5 x 4.5/5M as Nate said, and Vrbata 2 years x 3.5/4M. Vrbata may want more term since he's getting older, but we'll see.

Sheer Craziness: Do people think we need a centre? Grabo's the only one I've seen mentioned so far.

Amelia: I'm not really a fan of UFA dreaming. It's not a cap thing, or an internal budget thing, it's more that the transfer window in soccer (which goes on at the same time) has taken everything out of me on topics like this. That said....

A couple of you have mentioned Grabovski and Kulemin. I actually wouldn't mind reuniting former Leafs with MacArthur. Obviously they're not top notch free agents, but I think they're both useful players and we could probably get sign both for between $6.25M-$7.50M which I think is reasonable enough. It wouldn't replace the high voltage scoring power of Spezza-Hemsky, but we'd have some nice forward depth.

Cammalleri is an interesting option who would probably look better on a different team (Calgary can't be good for any of your relevant stats). That said, I don't want to pay him anything more than $5M (and if I'm being honest, the number is closer to $4.5). I think he would just eat up too much of our limited funds to be really worth the investment.

I'm on board with the suggestions from others about either Stralman or Gilbert. Gilbert is likely the more economical, so there's that.

Adnan: Anton Strålman if we have enough magic beans.

Mrs. O: Not sure we do since we couldn't sign Hemmer. Unless GMBM would rather spend on someone else because he wasn't convinced Hemsky would be good without Spezza.

Adnan: If the NHL/NHLPA agree to include Canadian TV deal as Mirtle hinted, re-signing Lehner/Michalek/Hoffman/Gryba might not be enough to get to the floor.

Mrs. O: I hope so.

nkb: I wish I could say I have much hope for UFAd, but I just don't. If they land Gilbert on the cheap that would be great, but honestly if they down much above the floor I'll be very surprised at this point.

Sheer Craziness: I was going for who I would sign, not who I expect to be signed. Our last couple summers we've brought in Corvo and Lundin on D, so I have low expectations

Mrs. O: Oh man...Mike Lundin...

We're going to re-sign Corvo again aren't we?

theianalex: The cherry on top of this off-season would be Corvo turning down our offer for low-balling him.
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