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Senators trying to deal star winger ... but contract demands standing in way

While Ray Emery has agreed to a deal with the Senators, Martin Havlat took another step closer to the door.

The Senators' backup goalie didn't file for arbitration yesterday at 5 p.m and agreed to a one-year, $925,000 contract.

However, Havlat, along with wingers Chris Neil, Antoine Vermette, Peter Schaefer and centre Chris Kelly have decided to go to the NHL's Kangaroo Court.

While GM John Muckler will negotiate with Vermette, Schaefer, Neil and Kelly, sources say talks continue to try to move Havlat to a Western Conference team.

It's believed the San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks are among the teams trying to work out a deal with Muckler.

A furious Havlat, who is determined to test the free-agent market, told agent Allan Walsh that he will not sign more than a one-year contract with any team. That hurts Muckler's attempts to trade him.

The Senators have already spent about $35 million on salaries for next season.

After forking out $4.5 million to Jason Spezza, $6.5 million to Wade Redden, $3.7 million to Martin Gerber and $2.5 million to Joe Corvo, the Senators could find out that Havlat is too rich for their blood.

While Havlat made $2.6 million last season, Muckler must have cringed when he learned the Carolina Hurricanes gave winger Eric Cole a three-year, $12-million deal yesterday.

The $4-million mark is expected to be Havlat's starting point when he goes to arbitration.

The spending won't stop there. Vermette scored 20 goals and is going to be seeking a hefty raise, while Schaefer is one of the league's most valuable players along the boards and is only one season from unrestricted free agency.

Neil and Kelly might simply be trying to protect themselves to make sure they get the right deal.

With assistant GM Peter Chiarelli getting ready to take over in Boston, several agents told the Sun they have been negotiating with Kevin Billet, who worked with Muckler while he was GM of the Buffalo Sabres. Billet is going to take over for Chiarelli when he officially leaves on July 15, but will not carry the title of assistant GM.

There are whispers the Senators are one of several teams looking at free-agent centre Yanic Perreault, who played last season in Nashville and would serve the club well in a fourth-line role. Perreault is also considered a top faceoff man.
 

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Vermette will end up around the 1 million dollar mark (he had a 33pt season and only 2 points in the palyoffs).......Neil and Kelly will come in around between 750,000 and 1 million a piece. As for Schaefer, he is a big part of the team....a fairly consistant performer and had a 50pt season (20 goals).I'm not sure how much he was making last season but I would put him in the same arena as Fisher (all be it I think Fisher is the better of the two) and Fisher is making 1.5million.......So I wouldn't expect Schaefer to pull in more than that.

So by my figuring Ottawa should be able to sign Kelly,Neil, Vermette and Schaefer for a combined total cost for next year of, about 4 million maybe 5million at the absolute most........That would put Ottawa around the 39-40million dollar mark. I would expect Ottawa is going to trade the rights to Havlat very soon, who knows you may see Kelly packaged with him. There is a rumour that Ottawa is still working on a deal with the Sharks that involves havlat. If Ottawa can sign all of the above mentioned palyers (except Havlat) and keep the total payroll under 38 million then they will have some room to bring in oh let's say (and HOPE) Michael Peca!

I don't know if any of you are familiar with "Eklund" and his site hockeybuzz.com, but he is an extremely reliable source for insider information and for sorting out the completely fictional rumours from fact. Anyways he was on the team 1200 yesterday and said that Peca is going to go either to the Sens or back to the Islanders.....he has interest in both and he is going to have to decide what's more important to him.....playing with a longtime friend (Satan) or a legitimate shot at winning the Cup (Ottawa)..so time will tell....hopefully we find out sooner than later.

To offset the cost of Peca and give them some Cap wiggle room to use duing the season look for Ottawa to unload maybe Smolinski. He would become redundant and not needed as the center on the 2nd line.....that job would go to Peca and there is no way you can demote Fisher to the 4th line......it would be a waste.......Dumping Smolks would free up 1.5 million.
 

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Ottawa should have gotten rid of the guy when they had the chance. Everyone now knows this guy is a pain to sign to a contract, so his worth is falling.

He wants a 1-year deal so he can cash in big time next season, and anyone who gets him knows they might end up payng the price for this guy.

The Sens should have moved him for Cole and Williams when the trade came up last off-seaosn, but they declined rather than get at least 1 of the kind of players that the Ottawa Senators need badly in an Erik Cole type guy.

With Heatley, Spezza, and Alfie on the top line, it would have done them well to finally get that gritty top 6 forward they've been missing for some time.
 
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