Monday, July 10, 2006

Muckler speaks out

Sens GM John Muckler was on The Team 1200 a few minutes ago. The highlights:
  • This was a deal he worked on for a month. The team simply could not afford Martin Havlat at the price it would've cost and didn't want to risk losing him a year and getting no compensation
  • Tom Preissing will help the powerplay and gives them three defencemen, along with Joe Corvo and Wade Redden, who can anchor a PP.
  • All the moves they've made this offseason have added to their backend speed and puck moving ability, which was key in Carolina's success
  • They haven't freed up that much $. By his calculations, with Havlat and Bryan Smolinski, they would've been up around $47 or $48 million
  • He talked with six or seven teams about Havlat but they were all concerned about his contract status, and things weren't helped by his agent's public decree. Chicago was the natural fit because they had a low payroll and could afford to pay Havlat the contract he wanted.
  • He expects both Josh Hennessy and Michael Barinka to start the season down in Binghamton, but if they have good camps, he's sure they could win jobs, as there is always a surprise every training camp.
  • On the prospects in the system, he was very impressed with goalie Brian Elliott's performance in the developmental camp. He'll have another year in college and then probably go pro. Elliott will be a strong candidate for an NHL job in two or three years. He thinks defenceman Brian Lee will be able to go to the NHL right out of college.
  • They've agreed in principle to a contract with Russian prospect Alexei Kaigodorov but they're still waiting for the IIHF-Russian transfer agreement to be finalized.
  • Denis Hamel is a "strong candidate to get one of the positions on the fourth line."
  • On Mark Bell: he's not as consistent as you'd like but he's a big body and has talent. The Sens inquired about getting him last year but at that point the Blackhawks were not interested in letting him go.
  • He thinks they'll be able to avoid arbitration with all their RFAs and it's more of a formality than anything else.
  • He's not gonna "tweak" the team anymore, but are looking at a few players to bring in, however, he's comfortable with the team as it is. He wants to wait and see with the cap space they have and might not utilize it until the season is already underway.


At 4:58 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I heard the interview as well and you have highlighted all of the key points he made. A couple of thoughts on his comments.

All the moves they've made this offseason have added to their backend speed and puck moving ability, which was key in Carolina's success

Partially but Commodore is not speedy. At this point in his career neither is Wesley. Aaron Ward isn't a speedster either. What they did have, which Ottawa lacks, is experience. (Am I getting repetitive with this experience thing?)

Denis Hamel is a "strong candidate to get one of the positions on the fourth line."

This was an interesting comment IMO because if he thinks that Hamel can be a fourth liner, why didn't he give him more of an opportunity last season? He had an outstanding season in Binghamton last year and probably deserved more of a chance. Instead he chose to give Eaves, Bochenski, Arnason, and Schubert more of an opportunity than Hamel. This and some of his other comments indicates that there is a chance that he might not do anything else before the season starts. Whether he does or not probably depends on how much money is left after signing the RFA's. Hamel is signed for $450,000.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger jinx said...

Wow, Denis Hamel a strong candidate!! When Muckler took over, Ottawa had the worse group of centers in the whole NHL. Most of them would not have ranked in the top 100 centers in NHL.

Muckler seems to be admitting that Ottawa doesn't have an NHL quality 2nd or 4th line center. Are we returning to the bad old days when we had the worse centers in hockey? Muckler has to stop making excuses & get a decent center whatever it takes. Even if we have to trade Alfie - we can not go on like this - with this huge weakness down the middle.

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Nick said...

There is only one answer, the only answer there ever could be: Yanic Perreault.

He had a nice year with Nashville, and he could be a big hit between Alfie and Eaves. And what's wrong with having the king of faceoffs on your team, anyway?

Sign Yanic!

No? Is there a better UFA center out there not named Lindros?

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Salman Haq said...

OK, I know he is a very soft player, but brings a fair amount of offence: Jan Hrdina. He is pretty consistent and isn't bad defensively. I can't find his salary last year so I don't know if he's affordable, but he might be worth taking a chance on. Peca or Lindros are preferable, but maybe a little pricey.

At 11:22 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Jason Allison might be a good fit too. Yeah, he isn't fast but with all the speed around him it won't be a significant problem on the Senators. Plus he is an excellent playmaker and maybe then the Senators could build two strong longs with Spezza-Heatley on one and Allison-Alfredsson on the other. It would give the Senators two fearsome PP units.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Donald said...

You heard Mucks say it... "Hamel is a good candidate..." This means that we can forget about another "name" signing like Perreault, Peca or Allison.We should expect Spezza, Fisher, Vermette and Kelly down the middle and hope for the best next year.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Nick said...

Well, the whole idea behind the Corvo and Preissing acquisitions was to provide more offense from the back end. Mucks wants to deemphasize the importance of guys like Havlat. If his point production is replaced by that of his 3rd and 5th defenceman, that allows his position to be filled by a player with a different role, or by a younger player. Mucks is trying to build a new core here. Yes, this year strikes me as a rebuilding year of sorts, though one where we should make the playoffs and even win a round or two.

I'm not sure there's a free agent out there demonstratably better than anyone we've got right now. Second-line center is the obvious hole, but most of the notable UFA centers are gone already. Anyone who plays next to Alfie is gonna get points, even if by accident. I say Murray puts Vermette there and Eaves on the other side, and we'll see what happens.

Peca is probably the best UFA choice out there for Ottawa. Still, the elusive Power Forward we've needed for years is nowhere to be found, unless Lindros becomes available (I'd take a chance on him, why not?). A veteran winger might ease some of the leadership worries, but who?

Barring a trade out of left field, or a Peca signing, we're looking at this year's team.


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