Off Season Issues
Well here we are, 3 weeks into the seemingly endless off season. 1 month until the draft. 2 months until the start of free agency. 5 months from the start of training camp. Nothing but time on our hands….
I don’t know about you, but I have had a really tough time staying interested in these NHL playoffs. I’m not sure what it is, but since the Sens were eliminated I’ve probably watched 2, maybe 3 full periods of hockey. I feel oddly satisfied with how the Sens season played out and to tell you the truth I honestly could not care less about which of the 4 remaining teams lifts the cup at the end of the season.
I feel like I’ve been so emotionally invested in this unbelievable Senators season that no other story line or media rumbling or potential matchup in the Cup final can interest me in the way this team did for the entirety of this past season.
This Senators season was amazing. Truly a fun and exciting experience from start to finish, but now that its over its time to start biding our time to do it all over again next year. So in an offseason that is already feeling like it’s been going on too long I thought I would start to outline some potential story lines over the next few weeks that we can all think on while we count down the days until our boys are back on the ice. This week:
UFAs: Auld, Carkner, Gilroy, Kuba, Klinkhammer, Konopka, Winchester
Auld is gone, Gilroy is gone.
Kuba could be back, but I have a hard time believing he will take a pay cut on his $3.7 mil salary when he will be looking to cash in one last time as a free agent. There are better options out there for the Sens and I wouldn’t be surprised if they let Kuba take a walk.
Klinkhammer can still play a role in this organization but I think the writing is on the wall in terms of a roster spot on a team chalk full of up and coming prospects. He’s probably gone too.
Konopka however has etched out a nice little place on this team and has stated his strong desire to resign here. The guy will play for peanuts and can be a real nice role player and dressing room presence on a team with a bunch of kids finding their way.
Jesse Winchester is a tough one for me. I love the way he plays the game. He is a noticeable upgrade on the fourth line and I would be thrilled if he were to come back, but after a scary year in which he had 2 serious concussions it might be time to cut ties and find a healthier option to fill that spot. If he can shake his ongoing concussion issues I’d love to see him back in a Sens uniform.
RFAs: Foligno, O’Brien, Daugavins, Karlsson
Bryan Murray has challenged Nick Foligno to be the second liner this team needs him to be. Expect him to be re-signed, but if he doesn’t take a significant step forward again next year he might be the subject of trade talks come the deadline. Nicky has the ability to be a solid second liner but consistency has always been his problem. He either needs to step up or slot in solidly on the third line.
O’Brien and Daugavins will stick around. They both had solid years and developed into regular NHLers.
Erik Karlsson will be back. There is no doubt about that, but at what cost? I get the feeling he will do 1 of 2 things: Sign a short(er) term deal for a bigger cap hit, or sign a longer term deal at a lower annual cost. I’m thinking a 4 year deal worth $7+ mil, or a 6 or 7 year deal worth $5 or $6 mil give or take. Either way he will be back, but the Sens do have a little bit of leverage (but not much) with Karlsson coming off of his first entry level contract.
Expect negotiations to heat up sometime after the NHL awards once we know whether or not Karlsson has won the Norris Trophy (he will…..right? He will.)
So that’s it for my quick take on the Sens free agent situation. Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments section or on Twitter @TomSENS.