Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk explains why his club parted ways with long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson, Oilers blueliner Justin Schultz hopes his club makes the playoffs next spring, and Canadiens forward Brandon Prust has recovered from last season’s injuries.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: James Gordon interviewed Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who explained the reasons behind his club parting ways with long-time Senator Daniel Alfredsson, who signed with the Detroit Red Wings last month as a free agent. Melnyk cited budgetary concerns, claiming his team couldn’t afford to meet Alfredsson’s salary demands and still bring in quality talent. Shortly following Alfredsson’s signing with the Wings, the Senators acquired winger Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators actually could have afforded both if Melnyk were willing to spend, but he’s keeping the Sens payroll well below the $64.3 million cap for the upcoming season. Some might argue he’s being cheap, but in recent years there’s been rumblings of the Senators having some financial problems (hence Melnyk’s recent push for a casino near the Senators arena in Kanata), which would explain his current frugality.
It’s also rumored the Senators hierarchy expected Alfredsson to accept less than market value (as he always had in the past), and when he didn’t, they balked at his asking price, which put “Alfie” on the path toward free agency and the Red Wings. It’s unlikely to have an adverse effect upon the Senators performance this coming season. Alfredsson was a popular leader but he’s well past his best-before date and his career is winding down, while Ryan (a skilled sniper in his playing prime) is an excellent addition who should make the Sens a better team. It just appears Alfredsson’s negotiations were handled that well by the Senators.
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers sophomore defenseman Justin Schultz hopes to help his club end its lengthy playoff drought.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Brandon Prust has fully recovered from last season’s rib and shoulder injuries and expects to be ready when the club’s training camp opens on September 11.