Silver Nuggets: Free Agency Email Hotstove

An email hotstove asking what the staff want to see the Sens do during free agency, plus a load of Sens links.

Question: What are you hoping the Ottawa Senators do in free agency?

Peter: I'd love it if the Sens cleared out some of the lesser performing players on the blue line and acquired another defenceman, but I have no expectation at all of that happening. If it did, my preferences would be (in order): Christian Ehrhoff, Cody Franson, Mike Green, Johnny Oduya, Andrej Sekera, Adam Larsson (RFA).

Since that's not gonna happen, I'd be happy if they were able to re-sign Erik Condra.

Richard: I think we need to do something about our defence. I don’t understand how moving Gryba allows us to play Cowen more, as we now have a glut of left handed D and Karlsson, Ceci and Wideman on the right. I’d like to see Wideman get a shot this year, but I’m not sure he’s going to be what this team needs. If the plan is to cycle through Wideman Wiericioch, Cowen, Phillips and Borowiecki next season, with various players getting stints on the right side, I think we’re in for a disaster. Boro seems like the mostly likely candidate for a switch to the right side and his numbers with every LD except Wiercioch are sub 44% CF.

If Murray wants to see Cowen in a top four role this year, he’s going to need to get him a partner either whose impact will be transformative to his game, or will mask it completely. In his time with Ottawa Cowen has averaged a CF% over 53% with Karlsson. I know no one wants to see that happen this year, but at least we know a player can drive possession with him on the ice.

It seems to me that a guy like Zbynek Michalek could be a great fit. He shoots right, so he can play with Cowen. He’s not the biggest name out there, but over the past three seasons, when measured against this year’s other free agent defencemen he has the highest relative percentage of defensive zone starts, he also plays the toughest competition, and despite tough deployment he has posted amongst the highest relative percentages in almost every conceivable category including for scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances, corsi, shots, goals for. He’s a bit older than I’d like, but he has the family connection and I think given the fact that he seems to make his team better, he has experience and he has a brother named Milan, I could see it being good for this team.

I’d also tolerate our signing Mike Green for lots of money. A top four combining Green, Karlsson, Wiercioch, and Methot, would mean that the other guys couldn’t be defensively bad enough in their limited minutes to undo the offensive powerhouse of our top four…right? Ultimately though I don’t think this would be realistic or smart.

If a player like Shattenkirk can be pried from the Blues or a similarly frustrated team, I’d be all for going the trade route to get a viable top four defenseman as well.

If Ottawa really wants to sign a forward that isn’t Erik Condra for some reason, I’d have interest in Frolik, Bergenheim and… that’s pretty much it. Please resign Condra!

Ary: I like both Richard and Peter's answers! I'd love it if they could shed Cowen and re-sign Condra, though I don't think either is realistically happening. I don't think we sign a FA D either because of a) money and b) Wikstrand.

Ross: I'm hoping the Sens don't do anything stupid. I think there's a lot of opportunity to overpay for forwards, and I hope Murray's love of top-six forwards doesn't make him do something dumb. I was hoping to sign a defenceman earlier, but I don't see how that helps unless at least one more defenceman gets traded. Even if Chris Phillips retires, that's five defencemen on one-way contracts, plus Cody Ceci and Chris Wideman.

If the Sens re-sign Condra and nothing else, I'll be very happy. I'm setting my expectations low.

Callum: Bryan Murray doesn't have much work to do outside of his own free agents. After Mike Hoffman, Alex Chiasson and hopefully (but doubtfully) Erik Condra are signed, the team doesn't have any holes to fill. If anything, Murray should stay away from free agency simply because of his aspirations involving Chris Stewart. But if I had to pick someone, I'd like a steady defenseman, Anton Stralman or Mike Green. That being said, I understand the unlikelihood of those acquisitions because of management's satisfaction with their blueline.

With the internal budget, no matter how large it seems to be growing, the Senators don't have much to do on July 1. Maybe get a good parking spot near Parliament for the fireworks, but other than that, they should be somewhat content with their work up until now.

Michaela: I'm with the majority in thinking that before the Sens do anything this week, they need to clean up the blue line. In a perfect world, Phillips and Cowen would be moved somehow, making room for a defensive prospect (cough... Wideman... cough) or a free agent. Zbynek Michalek is an interesting option. At $4 million (last year) it wouldn't be an outrageous cost, but it's certainly the most I would like to see the Sens pay for a free agent this year. I realize they are not going to get rid of Cowen. This is just in a perfect world.

My fear is that Bryan Murray will continue down the "we need a top-six forward" path, and end up overpaying for a forward. The choices in this year's free agency crop are not all that appealing, so I really hope the team stays away from this.

All that being said, if the Sens don't pick up anyone and just sign Condra (and eventually Hoffman) I'll be happy. In the words of Ross: "I'm hoping the Sens don't do anything stupid."

Ian: I'm really hoping we stay with what we have right now in terms of free agents. After (hopefully) locking in both Hoffman and Condra, and the inevitable (grr) Chiasson signing, we have a ton of bodies up at the NHL level. With that said, I'm completely open to acquiring some players via trade or shipping out some pieces for picks/prospects to make room for a UFA signing. At this point though, I don't think the Sens will have much of a free agent splash.

Sens Links

Other Links

  • Hockey's Future has some notes from the draft. Some interesting points: more players taken from the WHL than the OHL, lots of American picks, and lots of Russian picks [Hockey's Future]
  • This year's Hockey Hall of Fame class consists of Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Phil Housley, Chris Pronger (the first-ever Coyote!), and Angela Ruggiero. Peter Karmanos Jr. and Bill Hay were also inducted as builders. [NHL]

What should be the Sens' main priority in free agency?

Add a top-six forward5
Add a top-four defenceman48
Sign Erik Condra50
Shed extra players through trades46
Other - I'll share in the comments1

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