As the official NHL offseason approaches, all Sens fans can do is continue to speculate on issues like goaltending and defensemen. So why should this week's Five Thoughts be any different?
1) Young Defensemen
The Ottawa Senators signed defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, two-way contract extension worth $600,000 in the NHL, and $85,000 in the AHL. While we haven't seen Claesson in the NHL yet, he is highly regarded among management and fans. Many are looking forward to the day when he does make his NHL debut.
The #Sens are trying to sign UFA D Chris Wideman before July 1.— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) June 11, 2015
Not long after this contract announcement, Bruce Garrioch tweeted that the Sens are working on a contract extension with defenseman Chris Wideman. Normally, signing a couple of AHL defensemen wouldn't be very big news, but with the logjam of defensemen on the big club, it's seems odd that getting defensive prospects locked up would be a priority. Could this be the set up for some changes on the blue line?
The Sens currently have seven defensemen signed to one-way contracts plus Cody Ceci, which would make it hard for anyone at the AHL level to make the move up. But there is also a need for the Sens to get rid of some deadweight all over the board. Does this mean that a defensive trade is on the way? Phillips? Cowen??
This is all purely speculation, but it certainly seems like the Sens are readying the blue line for the future, and making room on the team will be the next step.
2) Alfredsson on TSN 1200
Daniel Alfredsson attended an event benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa on Thursday. During the event, he spoke with TSN 1200 about his summer, retirement and his future with the Ottawa Senators.
To save you the anticipation regarding him possibly joining Senators management, he said nothing that we didn't already know (shocking!). He has no immediate plans for the future, other than going back to Sweden for a little while. His attendance at events like this is promising though. It maintains his presence in the community, making a possible return much easier in the future. But, I'm just saying.
He did mention that he'll be at the NHL awards in Las Vegas, presenting an award. When asked about the possibility of him presenting the Calder Trophy, and Mark Stone winning it, Alfie replied with "It crossed my mind."
3) Goalie Talk
Are you sick of goalie speculation yet? Good. Me neither.
Bryan Murray has made it clear that he's getting calls about his goaltenders, with most of the interest focused on Robin Lehner. Being the younger of the two likely-to-move goalies, Lehner seems to be the one who would yield the greater return, and therefore the most likely to get traded. The Sens would then roll forward with Craig Anderson as the starter and Andrew Hammond as the back-up. With Matt O'Connor in the pipeline now, he would take over as the new goalie of the future.
This is nothing new, but the 6th Sens wrote an interesting article highlighting some of the (many) risks associated with a move like this. First of all, there is the obvious risk of trading such a key piece of the team's future. The Sens have invested so heavily in Lehner over the last few years, hyping him up as the goalie of the future. To just trade him away and go forward with an undrafted goalie coming out of college would be a huge risk.
Nichols also brought up the issue of Anderson's save percentage diminishing as he plays more games. In smaller amounts, he has been very effective. But the more he plays, the lower his save percentage goes. Not to mention, he is becoming somewhat injury prone.
In the end, any goalie trade is going to be a risk for the Sens. There are so many possible scenarios, all of which we are certainly going to touch on until the trade takes place.
4) Where Would Lehner Go? (More Goalie Talk!)
See what I mean?
Throughout all the speculation so far, the constants have been Edmonton, Buffalo, San Jose and Calgary. My money is on either Edmonton or Buffalo. Both teams have obvious needs in net, and plenty of prospects and high picks to give up.
Something tells me that Buffalo will make a strong push for Lehner. They need something to go in their favour this summer, giving them some extra motivation to get a deal done.
(Editor's note: Don't forget GM Tim Murray's familiarity with the Sens' players. It wouldn't be hard to see his interest in acquiring a young goalie he already knows well.)
In the interest of ending this piece on a light note, and because there really wasn't much hard-hitting Sens news this week, I thought I would mention an interesting potential segment on Ottawa's TSN 1200.
Ian Mendes tweeted on Thursday about a possible Throwback Thursday segment he would like to do in the fall. It would involve him interviewing a former Ottawa Senator every Thursday, which sparked some very interesting discussion among Sens fans as to who they would like to hear on the show.
This got me thinking: Which former Ottawa Senator would you love to hear in a #TBT interview? (Extra points for creativity!)