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SportsTinkering Time for Sens

Tinkering Time for Sens

Tinkering Time for Sens

SENATORS: A Week in Review is a weekly column looking back at the week in Ottawa Senators hockey written by OLMSports Dave Gross.


Feature photo Courtesy NHLI via Getty Images

The best way to sum up the Ottawa Senators' dip into the free agent period?

Tinkering.

As was the way with many clubs during the holiday weekend (the signing period started officially on July 1), Ottawa was reticent to make a big splash with a bucket load of money.

Instead, general manager Pierre Dorion coasted this ship into harbour with barely a clip or a bleep.

Senator fans though might be thinking about a different definition of 'bleep.' As in - could we have at least taken a 'bleeping' shot at someone?

Dorion's work was short and aimed at shoring up the lower reaches of this Senator lineup.

Veteran centre Nate Thompson (he's 32), who played for head coach Guy Boucher in Tampa, signed a two-way deal worth $3.3 million. I've always liked Thompson's game - he's one of those Swiss knife-type players who does a lot of things the right way. He's also a gritty guy.

It's a strong depth move. As Ottawa and all the other teams that went deep into the post-season this spring found out, you can never have enough NHL-calibre bodies.

Dorion clearly likes what he sees from his top-line players and didn't make changes.

Last season he hauled in Tommy Wingels, Alex Burrows and Viktor Stalberg for help on the third- and fourth-lines. He also brought in Boucher favourite Tom Pyatt for defensive help up front (Pyatt was re-signed last week).

Dorion's other signings: centre Ben Sexton, centre Max Reinhart, winger Tyler Randell, defenceman Erik Burgdoerfer and goalie Danny Taylor. All are expected to play in Belleville this coming season.

The GM's most important move came just two days before free agency when he re-signed netminder Mike Condon for three years and a cap hit of $2.4 million.

With Craig Anderson returning, Ottawa boasts one of the league's better 1-2 punches in goal.

Not exactly a "We just traded for Gretzky!" moment, but it was a smart move.

Not all the news-of-the-week in Ottawa was of the (moderately) bland variety.

Fans learned this past weekend that Daniel Alfredsson had chosen to leave the organization and his role as a senior advisor.

No real explanation was given.

That's a shame because the speculation and gossip is running amok. Topping the list is Eugene Melnyk and whether Alfredsson could work alongside the owner.

Other hand-wringing centres on Erik Karlsson who's set to become an unrestricted free agent two years from this past weekend. With his best buddy (Alfie) gone and best d-man partner (Marc Methot) gone to Dallas, will Karlsson ply his trade elsewhere?

Let the hot-stove talk begin.

NEWS, NOTES AND NOTIONS: A general lack of high quality talent made this year's free agent 'frenzy' day a fairly 'frenzy-less' one. Interesting to see that GM's appear to be getting away from throwing bags of cash at average and below-average players . . . So then, what to make of the Carey Price long-term signing in Montreal? Eight years and $84 million? You get what you pay for - and Price is the best goaltender in the entire game (and has been for years). Still, it is a monster deal that takes the former first-rounder up until the age of 38. Let's not forget though that goalies like Eddie Belfour, Tim Thomas and Dominik Hasek were hugely effective past that number - as well as right here in Ottawa where Craig Anderson remains superb at the age of 37 (next season) . . . Speaking on deals, looks like King Connor McDavid is in line for a whopper of a contract that will pay him more than $13 million a season. Somewhere in the quiet community of Ottawa, there's a guy named Erik Karlsson licking his chops . . . It was a good week for the Dallas Stars, adding size in centre Martin Hanzal and landing shutdown blueliner Marc Methot from Vegas. Which begs the question, if all Dallas had to do was surrender a 2nd-round pick and a middling prospect for Methot, did Ottawa drop the ball? . . . The Stars were 29th in goals-against average last season - Methot will help address that . . . The Leafs played it smart in one regard in signing 4th-line centre Dominic Moore to a one-year, $1 million deal; not so much in adding another 36-year-old in defenceman Ron Hainsey who parlayed a fairly decent playoff into a two-year, $3 million contract. That's too much coin for an up-and-down defender . . . I thought the Leafs were going young? Patrick Marleau (37) for three years at more than $6 million per? What happens in two summers when Mitch "Mitts" Marner and Auston Matthews are up for new deals? Head-scratcher . . . Hey Colorado - You're on the clock. Hello? Hello? Anyone there? . . . Unlike a lot of folks, I like the Karl Alzner pick-up for Montreal. Good size pairs well with his hockey smarts.

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