I'll save you the technical details on the agreement (you can read about them on Blueshirt Banter), but the bottom line is this: The NHL and NHLPA have come to an deal wherein compliance buyouts can be accelerated and players who were going to bought out in the off-season can become free agents immediately. It carries with it virtually no benefit nor cost to the team. It really only matters for the careers of Scott Gomez and Wade Redden.
Although signing Gomez isn't as crazy as it might sound, it doesn't make sense for the Ottawa Senators given the presence of Jason Spezza, Kyle Turris, and Zack Smith on the roster. Redden, however, could be another story.
The Sens' questionable blue line is well-documented; injuries to Jared Cowen and Mike Lundin have depleted an already troubled defence corps. Plenty of names have been bandied about as potential acquisitions, but considering the cost of players recently traded, Bryan Murray was likely wise to step away from the phones for the time being.
Ottawa's blue line currently includes Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot, Sergei Gonchar, and Chris Phillips. Mike Lundin isn't far off. The group will, as it stands today, be rounded out by any of Mark Borowiecki, Andre Benoit, and Patrick Wiercioch. Does Redden offer an upgrade on any of those names?
Ummm... based on his stats, probably not. Redden put up 62P (12G, 50A) in 119GP over the last two seasons at the AHL level. On a points-per-game basis, that's nowhere near Benoit's production so far this season (0.735 P/GP) and even lower than Wiercioch's this year (0.594 P/GP), and it's scarcely above Mike Lundin's career AHL numbers (0.5 P/GP). Comparing Borowiecki and Redden doesn't make sense, so I won't bother. Obviously, Redden carries with him significantly more NHL experience than the others, but I'm not sure you can call him a 'proven performer' considering the fact that he hasn't played an NHL game since April of 2010.
But it's certainly possible that Redden can at least service as a bottom-pairing defender who plays on the powerplay. The Sens could use someone to play the point with Karlsson on the man-advantage, and Redden could fill that role almost as capably as Filip Kuba did last year (although Redden's almost certainly even slower than Kuba was). Plus you just know Redden must be itching to get back into the NHL and prove the Rangers wrong for buying him out; there's no shortage of potential motivation for this guy.
The best option, in the end, is probably a training camp try-out deal--if there's even still time for such a thing. It seems unlikely that Redden would sign a two-way deal and risk heading back to the AHL, but he may take his chances on a try-out deal. It would afford the Senators to compare him directly with some of their prospects, and see which would make the most sense for the team's fate. Even if the Rangers took the accelerated buyout option with Redden, they'd still be paying him $6.5M this year; it's unlikely Redden would (or could) ask for much money wherever he ends up.
For sentimental reasons, I'd like to see Redden given an opportunity to at least play in the NHL this season and maybe hit the 1,000-games mark; if that can happen with the Senators without jeopardizing the team's standing this year, all the better.
Would you like to see the Ottawa Senators bring back Wade Redden?