Expect more interest in Senators goalie Robin Lehner
Robin Lehner should get the biggest return if the Senators decide to trade him. Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun Files
There should be no shortage of interest in Ottawa's goalies.
However, if the Senators want to get the best they can for one of their netminders, expect 23-year-old goaltender Robin Lehner to be on the move before next month's NHL entry draft in Fort Lauderdale.
Sources say the Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks have already called the Senators about Lehner and that was before Andrew Hammond agreed to a three-year contract extension with the club Wednesday.
Yes, teams might like veteran goalie Craig Anderson, who doesn't have a 'no move' clause, but there will be more interest in Lehner because of his age and upside potential, especially for teams like the Sabres and Oilers who are trying to get younger because he'd fit their mould.
Here's a look at possible suitors:
They are reeling after not getting coach Mike Babcock so they'll have to turn their attention elsewhere for a bench boss. Yes, Binghamton coach Luke Richardson is a possibility and he's worked with Lehner in the past. It doesn't matter who's behind the bench, they're going to need someone to stop the puck and it just so happens Murray was part of the scouting staff that drafted Lehner in Ottawa. This is quite possible.
GM Peter Chiarelli and coach Todd McLellan are just getting their feet wet after taking over. Chiarelli needs a goalie because Ben Scrivens isn't going to be the answer. The Oilers are young and they probably want to have a young goalie that is going to grow with the franchise. Lehner certainly fits the bill here and the Oilers have forwards they can offer up to come back here. This one may make the most sense.
The Sharks are going to let Antti Niemi walk away and Alex Stalock surely isn't ready to be a No. 1. This might be the one place where Anderson makes more sense because of his age and experience. The Sharks are a team that doesn't want to completely rebuild and wants to win. Missing the playoffs last spring wasn't what they wanted to happen. They just don't seem like the kind of place that wants to build with a young goalie.
ON THE FREE AGENT FRONT
The Senators have held talks with the agents for forwards Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mika Zibanejad and Alex Chiasson. They aren't concerned about getting those guys signed because they all have restricted status and are all expected to be at training camp. Dorion, who met with Stone and Zibanejad's agents while at the world championships in Europe, said he spoke to Hoffman's camp as recently as Tuesday while he's also kept in contact with the rest of the group. "These contracts, as you guys know our attention was to get Andrew signed because he was UFA, all of the other guys are RFA's ... The organization and us have a pretty good relationship with all these agents so hopefully by Sept. 15 we've got them all under contract," Dorion said. Hoffman and Chiasson both have the right to file for arbitration but Dorion would like to have deals in place before then. The Senators have also spoken with UFA winger Erik Condra but aren't willing to make any commitment. "Bryan gave me permission to talk to Erik's agent and we're still looking at hopefully making him an offer and being part of the team but we have to do some other things here before we do that just because of the number of bodies," Dorion said.
LEHNER ON THE MEND
It's looking up for Lehner. After suffering a concussion in mid-February and being sidelined for the rest of the season, he's made progress and will most likely be ready for camp in September. Of course, the Senators made no promises that was going to happen. "He is working out. If I'm not mistaken he's been at the rink this week. I'm in scouting meetings so I'm not walking around the rink checking for who's here and who's not. He was here (Tuesday) and I'm not sure if he was here today," Dorion said. "Don't worry, he'll be ready to play here, somewhere else, and he'll stop a lot of pucks."
THIS N' THAT
Asked in french about coach Dave Cameron's contract extension, Dorion said: "That's a question for Bryan Murray." Yes, Cameron did have an offer on the table and neither side was expecting any difficulty in getting a deal done so it should be announced in the near future ... The Senators have no shortage of goalie depth in the organization now with Anderson, Hammond and Lehner along with minor-leaguers Chris Driedger and Matt O'Connor, who was signed from Boston University earlier this month. Swedish prospect Marcus Hogberg is also highly regarded.