OTTAWA — With three NHL goalies under contract, Bryan Murray knows something has to give.
The Ottawa Senators general manager told media Thursday morning that he has fielded a number of calls regarding his goaltending trio.
With Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner already under contract, the Senators made their goaltending situation more interesting by signing Andrew Hammond, who had a breakout season in 2014-15, to a three-year deal last month.
That leaves Murray with the difficult task of deciding who to keep.
“There’s some real interest by a number of teams that don’t have the depth that we have that are looking for an NHL goaltender and we’ll just have to filter through them as we do, as we’re doing now, and try and get a deal that fits for the organization,” Murray said.
He added there’s no immediate timetable to get a deal done, but he anticipates something happening sooner rather than later.
“I think we have identified and know the teams that are looking, that are serious about looking. I think over the next week or two I’ll probably get as good an offer as I’m going to get for it and I’ll have to make a call at some point, hopefully before the draft, but it doesn’t have to be then it can be around training camp if that’s what it leads to.”
It seems to come down to Anderson or Lehner leaving as they will likely provide the better return, but the question remains what is best for the Senators.
This past season Anderson posted a 14-13-8 record with a .923 save percentage and 2.49 goals-against average, while Lehner was 9-12-3 with the .905 save percentage and 3.02 GAA. Lehner missed most of the second half of the season with a concussion, but Murray says he’s made significant process and is on the mend. Anderson was sidelined with a deep bone bruise for the better part of two months, but was solid when he returned in the first round of the playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens.
“We have to evaluate and hopefully make the right decisions,” said Murray. “Who is going to help us? We want to win now. There’s no question we have to determine: ‘Do we have the material to win now?’ and that’s the whole process we’re going through now.”
Ideally the Senators would like to get a top-six forward in return, and Murray suggested he would be willing to sweeten the pot if the right player was available.
“At this point anyway we’re just going to look to get the best deal and if it’s something other than a top-six forward then we’ll have to do it.”
Notes: The Senators officially introduced goaltender Matt O’Connor to the media Thursday morning. O’Connor, a Boston University graduate signed to a two-year deal by the Senators, is expected to be the number-one goalie in Binghamton this coming season… Senators coach Dave Cameron has agreed in principle to a two-year extension. The two sides are working on some of the linguistics in the contract before things can be made official…It appears Luke Richardson will return to coach Binghamton, as the Senators have tabled an offer… Murray will be inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame on Friday night.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press