Senators News: June 26th

Tim Murray was on The Team 1200 and Nichols has transcribed the conversation which is worth reading in full.  Murray talked about the team’s development camp, “I don’t have a lot to do with it, so I can’t take any credit for it. But I think that Randy (Lee) and his team, you know, Randy has been through this 100 times. He has had people who have left this organization long before I got here and asked these people if he could help them set up their development camp wherever they have gone. He’s a pro at this and then you add our strength people – Chris (Schwartz) and our skating people and everybody. I’m not naming names but they’ve been around a lot and they’ve fine-tuned it, if you will. There have been mistakes made in the last ten years but I think on every mistake, we’ve tried to learn by that and develop something better. And you’re right, it’s the off-ice stuff as much as the on-ice stuff. We bring in a sleep expert in and some nights, I need that. But we give them all the information and again, when we talk about Cody, it’s what they do with it. We can’t force feed them. We can give them the information. We try to draft the player who will take and use the information, but it’s up to them.”  He also talked about the Sens interest in college free agent Justin Schultz who essentially can pick where he wants to go.  Murray described him this way, “Not many kids do this but you have a Canadian kid who on the surface, it looks to me like he wants to play in Canada and I think he can play now. That’s the message that we’ll be sending to him. He’s an offensive defenceman. He’s a puck-mover. His transition game is outstanding. He’s similar to somebody that we already have and I’m not comparing him to him but he’s just similar to him in style. And how far he gets with that style, we’ll find out.”  Murray says the team has a chance to land him, saying it’s between 3-5 teams and Ottawa is on that list.  Given that salary isn’t an issue (Schultz has to sign an ELC) presumably he wants guarantees that he’ll play on the NHL roster.

Steffe G:Son writes an excellent article on new Sens prospect Mikael Wikstrand.  The article is worth reading in full, but Steffe says of him “Even  though he didn’t get to show much of his offensive flare and the power play abilities that produced some points at the junior levels in Sweden,  he definitely didn’t look out of place at the senior level. He’s a good bet to make the Swedish WJC team for the tournament in Ufa this winter, and was one of 10 defensemen invited to the summer camp that’s the start of the U20 team’s season, with a camp in Sweden late July followed up by a tournament in Lake Placid. Wikstrand, who likes his name spelled with a “W” despite the passport saying “Vikstrand”, is a decently sized, mobile defenseman that can transport the puck with his skating and easy-solution, crisp passes. As a young  player in a men’s league, he would often opt for the simple play, as we’ve seen so many times with other young defensemen. Smart decisions defensively and while he’s not a physical force by no means, doesn’t shy away from contact and is fairly strong on his skates.”  He’ll play another season with Mora in Sweden and then possibly make the jump to the SEL or perhaps be brought over to play in the AHL (depending on his development).

Ken Warren reports that the Sens are still in talks with Matt Carkner and Jesse Winchester, but not with Zenon Konopka.  I wonder if the Sens are offering the pair two-way deals with a high AHL salary (that’s the only way I’d keep them), but Warren has no specifics to offer about the negotiation specifics.

Andy Strickland reports that Ottawa is negotiating for an extension with Chris Neil.  I agree with Nichols that Neil‘s best years are behind him.  There’s a lot of wear and tear on that body and I wonder what kind of extension it would be.

-UFA Corey Locke has signed in Finland.

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