Should The Sens Keep Comrie?

Mike Comrie is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st., but the Ottawa Senators have given little indication that they are intent on signing him. When asked if Comrie's play this year was enough to warrant a new contract, Bryan Murray had a one word answer: "No." Murray has apparently had talks with Comrie, telling him that Comrie "somehow has to prove to us that he deserves another contract." This is the same Mike Comrie who was recently named the fourth most disappointing player of the 08-09 NHL season.

Doesn't sound like much hope. But then again, why should there be?

Comrie's performance this season was less than inspiring. He didn't have much speed, and he was hardly noticeable on the ice. The only times he was noticeable - or effective - were the few times when he got angry. During those times, he was great, but they were few and far between. Though Comrie claims he never fully recovered from off-season hip surgery, there is no telling what effect that had on his play or if he will be fully healthy next season (in fact, there's no telling when the guy will have a healthy season at all - he has only played in all 82 games of a season once).

Comrie's point production this year was especially not up to expectation: in 22 games as an Ottawa Senator, he amassed only 3 goals and 4 assists (and this took place in the beloved Cory Clouston half of the season!). His 44 games with the New York Islanders were only marginally better, collecting 7 goals and 13 assists.  Here are his stats season-by-season (in the seasons where he was traded, I have simply added up his goals and points to make it more readable).

00-01 41 8 22
01-02 82 33 60
02-03 69 20 51
03-04 49 12 24
05-06 80 30 60
06-07 65 20 45
07-08 76 21 49
08-09 63 10 27

As you can see, Comrie's best campaign was also his only full season, way back in his sophomore year when he notched 33 goals and 60 points. He nearly repeated the feat in the 2005-06 season, but fell slightly short.

Comrie's contract this year was $4 million for the year, something he cannot expect next season given his play. However, there's no telling how much of a drop Comrie will expect, particularly when one considers all of the Mercedes SUVs he has to buy.

But if Comrie is willing to take a steep drop in pay, he could be useful. Comrie has only missed the 20 goal plateau three times in his career, and one two of those occasions he had played under 50 games. Secondary scoring is, as so often repeated around these parts, one of the Senators' primary needs. After the Big Three of Heatley, Spezza, and Alfredsson, the next highest goal scorer was Nick Foligno with 17. After him? Mike Fisher with 13. Then? Chris Kelly with 12. Obviously, the Senators need some more scoring, and a cheap Mike Comrie might be one of our limited options.

Unfortunately, even a cheap Mike Comrie comes with no promises -- if the successful trio of Fisher, Foligno, and Ryan Shannon keeps playing well, then Comrie would be continue playing on the third (or fourth) line. Without first- or second-line support, there is no evidence that Comrie can put up a significant point total. So, is he a risk the Senators should be willing to take?

Should the Ottawa Senators re-sign Mike Comrie?

Yes, if it's between $3-4 million/season (short-term)2
Yes, if it's between $2-3 million/season (short-term)19
Yes, if it's between $1-2 million/season (short-term)44
Yes, if it's between $3-4 million/season (long-term)0
Yes, if it's between $2-3 million/season (long-term)7
Yes, if it's between $1-2 million/season (long-term)16
No, we should not keep him.19

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