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Silver Nuggets: Can the Senators exploit the falling cap?

Erik Condra has been having a fantastic stretch. Is he still a Senator next week? (I HOPE SO)
Erik Condra has been having a fantastic stretch. Is he still a Senator next week? (I HOPE SO)
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Reports came out today that the Senators were interested in the former Maple Leaf and now Blue Jacket forward, David Clarkson. Part of the reason could be because of past interest, as the Senators were one of the finalists to sign Clarkson during Alfiegeddon, but ended up losing out to his hometown Leafs (phew). Another reason could be that the Senators were trying to ship away two or three of their bad contracts (Michalek, Legwand, Greening) to Toronto in exchange for one massive one, in order to free up roster spots. The final reason I could think of was that the Senators may be trying to "exploit" teams closer to the cap ceiling due to the cap likely dropping to ~ $69 - $71M next year due to a falling Canadian dollar. This is the prediction that we've heard from Eugene Melnyk time and time again as a reason why he doesn't spend near the cap, although the Senators haven't looked to trade with many cap ceiling teams to acquire smart assets in 2011 and 2013. Disregarding whether the organization has boxed themselves into a corner with the bad deals talked about above, maybe the team will look at some players with a high cap hit, but low salary in return for a good pick or prospect for taking the contract off the hands of a cap-strapped team.

The Penguins, for example, will have around $14M to sign 10 players. Perhaps the Senators could take Rob Scuderi, a declining veteran, off their hands ($4M) cap hit if Pittsburgh packages one of their picks or young defensemen.

Their rivals, the Washington Capitals, will have around $19M to sign 11 players, which maybe sounds okay until you realize that key RFAs Brayden Holtby and Marcus Johansson are RFAs, Mike Green is a UFA, and Evgeny Kuznetsov may require a pay raise. Perhaps Brooks Laich or Troy Brouwer ($3.5 - $4M) could be had with a pick in order for the Caps to get cheaper alternatives through trade or smart free agent signings.

In the division, the Boston Bruins are going to be in trouble with a falling cap, as they will have ~$12M to sign 12 (!) players, including Reilly Smith, Dougie Hamilton, and Torey Krug. The Senators would be wise to consider trading some of their inexpensive depth to Boston in order to possibly acquire top-six forwards like Loui Eriksson ($4.5 cap hit) or Brad Marchand ($4.5 cap hit).

Other teams like the Rangers, Los Angeles, and Chicago may also be in need of some cap relief, so I hope that these options are at least considered as it's one of the (few) benefits of being a team so close to the cap floor. What would you like to see the Senators do, and which players would you target? Let us know in the comments!

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Sens Links

  • The Sens played two games on a back-to-back and wowee were they fun. First, your recaps vs. the Ducks. [Silver SevenRank the PerformancesOttawa CitizenSensChirp, SenShot]
  • Next, your recaps from last night's fun 1-0 win against the once-winners of nine straight, the Los Angeles Kings. [Silver SevenRank the PerformancesOttawa CitizenSensChirpSenShot]
  • Varada with a piece on how the Hamburglar has hooked our hearts, and Ottawa's playoff chances. [WTYKY]
  • Practice Update: Craig Anderson has been holding his stick and taking shots on his blocker side, but still isn't sure when he's going to be 100% from his deep bone bruise. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Lots of talk this week about recent Beanpot winner and 2011 Sens development camp invitee from Boston University, Matt O'Connor. The Sens have publicly stated that they aren't happy with their goalie depth, although signing someone may actually end up facilitating a trade. The Nichols On Hockey link has a scouting report on O'Connor from another suitor, Tim Murray. [6th SensNichols on Hockey]
  • Luke has a wonderful piece on WTYKY on the myth of the "Bryan Murray type player." [WTYKY]
  • The most topical episode of Comedy Sentral yet, as Capital Gains parodies the Parks & Rec theme song. [Bonk's Mullet]
  • Nichols has two transcripts for us this week. The first features Cyril Leeder talking about the new LeBreton Flats arena deal and what it may look like (while touching on how it may get funded), and the second is a trade deadline update from Bryan Murray. [6th Sens III]
  • Bryan Murray mentioned how he's still looking for a top six forward, but that he sees Zibanejad as a #1 C down the road. Mika and Turris are 1A/1B right now. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Two really great prospect profiles from Peter Levi on Tobias Lindberg (I) and Mikael Wikstrand (II). [Eye on the Sens III]
  • A fantastic piece on the Senators youth movement, who have taken flight during this surprise winning streak. Due to injuries, they're two years younger than they were on Opening Night. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Speaking of youth, Jeff has a profile on a smart centre we saw last year, Derek Grant. [SenShot]
  • If David Clarkson can be dealt, what does that mean for Colin Greening? [SenShot]
  • The Sens appointed Ken Taylor as their new CFO, taking over for 18-year veteran, Erin Crowe. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Sheer_Craziness takes a look at the controversial Simpson article from earlier in the week now that some time has passed. [Silver Seven]
  • SensNation has started up a Hot Stove, which was a great listen this week. [SensNation]

NHL Links
  • Sidney Crosby's GoPro video is ridiculously good. [Sporting News]
  • Here are your trade updates! Other than the Horton for Clarkson swap between Toronto and Columbus, Jaromir Jagr is now a Florida Panther and Andrej Sekera is now an LA King. Full list here! [TSN]
  • A fantastic read on NHL.com from Arik Parnass on using analytics as an evaluation tool. [NHL]
  • Stephen Burtch looks at the value of NHL draft picks in a really interesting article. The more the merrier! [Sportsnet]
  • Yost looks at how the Tampa Bay Lightning were built, and explores the team's second line. [TSN]