As the clock counts down to the NHL’s September 15th drop dead lockout date, there haven’t been this many hockey fans looking at the calendar since Jonathan Cheechoo’s buyout was coming off the books.
With most of our attention being squarely focused on the possibility of a work stoppage, the past two days of Senators news has been a welcomed reprieve from the intricacies, public opinion, media portrayals and analysis of the CBA negotiations.
Yesterday’s Zack Smith news was like a breath of fresh air and served to give us a fleeting moment of normalcy. Even the local beat writers, have returned to the Kanata rinks and are churning out items like it is business as usual.
Senators Extra for example, posted a brief and edited video of Bryan Murray speaking to reporters.
The GM did not seem too concerned with the prospect of a lockout because the organization has prepared itself for any event.
“We’re planning if there is a delay and if there is not, so we will have to have things in place for that. We know that at this point in time, Binghamton is going to operate. We are hoping that there is an East Coast (Hockey League) team that will operate for some of our players and after that, we just have to hope that when (the league) is ready to drop the puck, the balance of our group is ready to play.”
With a few players who are on their entry level contracts (ELCs), these players will go to Binghamton in the event of a work stoppage.
Bruce Garrioch has already confirmed that Mika Zibanejad will report to Binghamton on September 28th, if the NHL and the NHLPA cannot agree to a new CBA in time.Zibanejad won’t be alone. He will apparently also be joined by Jared Cowen.
En cas de lock-out, Jared Cowen sera cédé à Binghamton.— Sylvain St-Laurent (@Syl_St_Laurent) September 6, 2012
With Bryan Murray essentially saying that he expects the team’s ECHL franchise in Elmira to receive some of the organization’s prospects, the addition of guys like Cowen and Zibanejad to Bingo will mean that some of Binghamton’s lesser prospects will be squeezed out.
While I have absolutely no problems with Ottawa’s best young players getting spots at the expense of some fringe guys, I have to wonder what kind of impact the addition of a few young forwards could mean for Andre Petersson’s future in North America.
Le Droit’s Sylvain St-Laurent wasn’t done confirming news on Twitter either.
It was difficult to ascertain from the tweet whether or not he was quoting Murray but it raises a valid point. With three centers under contract for the foreseeable future, barring injury, players like Peter Regin and Zibanejad are going to have to slide to the wing. And in Regin’s case, if he fails to put together a nice rebound year, his future with the organization looks bleak. As an impending UFA, he’s the low-cost, low-risk player who could be packaged together with other assets to fill a position of need.
More From that Bryan Murray Scrum:
On the possibility of another extension for a young player:
“There is nobody else that we’re working on. I talked to Eugene some time ago and we talked about these two young guys that we wanted to get locked up. They had shown some interest in doing it and some motivation to get it done for their comfort and for ours. There are couple of other guys that at some point, we would like to (sign), yes. We have a couple of young guys who we think are going to be a couple of good players for a number of years; and we’d like them to be here for a number of years. I think the lesson that we learned, is that… Matt Carkner was one of those guys. I wanted to keep him here. I read stories. The numbers were real legitimate that they asked of me and the term was the same that he got and I felt that I couldn’t do that. But some of these other guys, if I can get ahead of the curve before free agency comes in, then you will want to do it.”