C.R.E.A.M

The Ottawa Senators will spend when the time is right.

If you’ve followed the Ottawa Senators of the past two seasons, you’ve no doubt been assured this by ownership and management alike. You’ve been warned frivolous spending does not build contenders, but rather smart spending. Senators owner and horse enthusiast Eugene Melnyk has referenced the deadline acquisition of forward Ales Hemsky as evidence of the club’s willingness to spend in the right circumstance. On July 1st, Bryan Murray re-signed free agent Milan Michalek to a three year extension worth a total of 12 million dollars, patching one of four supposed holes in the team’s forward ranks. Say it with me:

The Ottawa Senators will spend when the time is right.

The time was certainly right for a Michalek extension following a trade that sent captain Jason Spezza to Dallas in return for Alex Chiasson and prospects, a net exchange of $3,100,000 in NHL salary. The Senators have been candid in their explanation that this is a budget team until, I assume, such time as they see themselves within striking distance of Stanley Cup contention. Winning the cup is hard, and historically, you’ve had to spend money to do it. General Manager Bryan Murray addressed the rumours yesterday that players are hesitant to belong to an NHL club that seems unwilling to pay the price for success as best he could without actually dispelling them. Besides,

The Ottawa Senators will spend when the time is right.

Murray proclaimed in the same press conference that the Ottawa Senators were now past the rebuilding phase and he aims to ice a competitive hockey team next season. With goaltender Robin Lehner still unsigned, the Senators projected 2014-2015 roster is wholly discouraging, albeit cheap:

Murray does not currently intend to explore any of the remaining free agent options, but says a trade is in the works that would bring a forward to Ottawa. It was mentioned by the general manager that his trading partner is in the process of selecting a Senators prospect to be included in the deal, alluding to the nature of the potential exchange. If futures are to be shipped out in order to acquire roster players, then Bryan Murray will have been right to deem the rebuild over. It seems the time to spend has come.

Only, the Senators remained remarkably quiet on the free agency front. As I write this, Mikhail Grabovski, one of a half-dozen or so big fish UFA forwards, agrees to terms with the New York Islanders. Melnyk is quick to point out any idiot can spend money, and perhaps Murray and his staff could not find a player with value they perceived to match the price tag they sported. Given the state of their current roster, however, I don’t know that they have the luxury of being choosy. If Murray wishes to improve his hockey team, he must now give up assets in addition to paying whatever salary they take on — presumably, as much as they need to in order to contend. 

The Ottawa Senators will spend when the time is right.

And you can believe it too, if you want. Personally, I’d like to see the Senators actually do it before I take them at their word. Where there is smoke there is often fire, and that every dollar that is spent comes at the requirement of another one off the books is reason enough for me to doubt the club’s financial devotion to winning. Want to hear a scary story? The players allegedly feel the same way. Murray expects a good hockey team next season, but hard work will not get his current lineup anything but a top-ten draft pick. In order to compete for a playoff position, he’ll need better players, and those don’t often come cheap.

Thanks for reading!

Manny

About Manny

Spreadsheet warrior. I track zone entries and more in Ottawa Senators games. Contributor for The 6th Sens. Follow me on Twitter! (Contact: emmanuel.perry@hotmail.com)

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