Here is a summary of the events of the next week, and why they are so insanely important to the immediate future of the franchise:
D-Day 1: Decision day for Daniel Alfredsson. As we talked about earlier in the week, today is the day that Alfie is set to make his announcement about whether he will play for one more year or not. It goes without saying that this is a huge day for the the franchise. Will we have to say goodbye to the most beloved player to ever play in Ottawa? Will Bryan Murray have to find a way to try and replace the production Alfie brings to the team? Or will one of the team's best players give us yet another season? (EDIT: YAYAYAYAYAYYAYYAYAYAAYAYA!!!!!!!!!!!)
D-Day 2: The Draft. In a salary cap world (hate the phrase, but anyways), and in a world where Eugene cannot spend to the cap anymore, it is imperative to find gems in the draft. Pierre Dorion, Tim Murray and the whole staff have done yeoman's work in the past few years, making smart selections that have improved the quality and depth of the organization. So while most of the talk will be about what the Senators do with the 17th overall pick, remember that this brain-trust took unranked skater Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the 4th round a couple years ago, so gems can come from anywhere. In addition, trades are quite common at the draft, so expect the Murrays to be active.
Buyout Extravaganza: I'm on the fence about these compliance buyouts. On one hand, if you screw up with a big contract, you shouldn't be given a mulligan. And the Senators have no use for theirs because they have been really smart in recent years. Yet on the other side of the coin, a VERY weak UFA class is being bolstered by good players with bruised egos who are likely willing to take a little less money to show they still have it. As a team with ~22 million in cap space looking for a player or two to bolster the roster, this could be a great thing for the Sens.
Free Agency: Not July 1st this year, July 5th will be the big free agent frenzy. What will be cool in this time of Twitter and Insiders and instant media will be the couple days before that, hearing about who is meeting with who leading up to the big day. The Sens need an impact, scoring forward and a top 4 defenceman to help them get to that next level. That's a tall order, but if neither spot is filled by trade at the draft, look for Murray to be in the action. Remember, the biggest addition on July 1 last year was Marc Methot via trade, so I expect BM to look at all options.
- Adnan with a great article on who the Sens could target on the back end. I think Jordan Leopold could be a good addition. [SSS]
- Bonk's Mullet with results from some reader polls about roster decisions as only RBM can. [RBM]
- A transcribed Murray/Dorion interview with Nichols' thoughts. [6thSens]
- Draft weekend: A game of moving pieces. [Warren]
- Murray is looking for a steal. Tough to hear him speak of a budget, the Sens have one of the leagues lowest payrolls, couldn't they grab themselves a 5 million dollar player? [SE]
- Site favourite Marian Hossa will likely have back surgery. [NHL]
- Final Mock Drafts from the three NHL.com writers. One has us with Wennberg, one with Domi and one with Rychel. [Morreale] [Kimelman] [Hoffner]
- NHL projections for top prospects. [Sens]
Lastly, this will likely be my last Nuggets post. I'll still be writing for the site, but real life will get in the way of 4 times a week Nuggets. I just wanted to say thanks for reading a voting in a million polls. Its been a lot of fun.