Senators will make splash
The biggest sports team in Canada's capital city will be looking to make a huge splash on Canada Day.
The Ottawa Senators will definitely be looking for help on defense. None of their defensive prospects look ready to make the jump to the NHL, so Senators general manager Bryan Murray will be looking to add help through free agency.
The team has not re-signed UFAs Matt Carkner, Matt Gilroy and Filip Kuba. It is likely the team will bring back Carkner, but not the others. It is curious that Kuba was not brought back considering how well he played alongside Norris-winner Erik Karlsson.
Murray likely has plans for a UFA he would like Karlsson to skate with, or he might be looking at trade candidates. The Calgary Flames have nine defense signed to one-way contracts, so they are an obvious trade partner for the Senators. Jay Bouwmeester or Mark Giordano would be of interest, while Calgary's UFA Scott Hannan could also be a good fit.
An obvious choice in the UFA market is Justin Schultz. He is interested in the Senators and would be a good fit on a team searching for another offensive d-man of the future.
It appears likely Daniel Alfredsson will be retiring, although no official word has come out either way. The Sens will have to act as if he is not returning so they do not miss out on bringing in the offensive help they will need if he leaves. Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad will probably play for the Senators this season, but it remains to be seen if either of them can slot into a top-six role. Silfverberg appears more ready for a top-six role, but it would be high risk to slot him into that role already.
The Senators' pursuit of Rick Nash is also not over. Bringing in Nash would solve their need to bring in another top-six forward, but that is far from a done-deal. The Senators should look to bring in a big-bodied forward like Dustin Penner in order to diversify their offense. Shane Doan, Zach Parise, P.A. Parenteau, Ryan Smyth and Ray Whitney should all be targeted to bring in offensive help. If Peter Regin can develop into the offensive player he was forecasted to be, the Senators could rely on him.
On defense, Ryan Suter, Matt Carle, Jason Garrison and Bryan Allen should all be sought after by the Senators. For the first time in Senators history goaltending is not a concern. In fact, the Senators' goaltending is a position of strength they may actually use to make deals to address weaknesses.
Needs: One top-six forward (two if Alfredsson walks away), one top-four defenseman, one bottom-pairing d-man.
Trade bait: Bobby Butler, Ben Bishop OR Robin Lehner, Erik Condra, prospects.