If Bryan Murray is indeed a lame-duck GM for the Ottawa Senators, he isn’t giving that impression to new goalie Craig Anderson’s agent.
“I get a 100 percent feeling Bryan is completely in charge,” said Justin Duberman, who spoke briefly with Murray yesterday regarding an extension for the Senators newest acquisition.
If there was any doubt whether Murray is going to be part of the Senators brain trust going forward, it has essentially been extinguished in the days leading up to the NHL’s trade deadline. Perhaps Murray won’t be holding down the GM title – TV analyst Pierre McGuire and Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois have emerged as the early contenders for the job – but there’s little doubt he’ll continue to have a say in the team’s decision making process after this season.
To trade pending unrestricted free agents such as Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Phillips would be one thing. That would simply be clearing the decks of players who wouldn’t be here beyond this season anyway. But Murray has made key decisions in dealing young goalie Brian Elliott for a pending unrestricted free agent in Anderson and dealing Chris Kelly, and his cap-friendly $2.125 million for next season, to the Boston Bruins. There’s also talk of Phillips signing an extension with the Senators rather than be dealt by next Monday’s trade deadline. Anderson will also be dealt with at some point in the near future.
These are not the moves of a man with a Sword of Damocles swinging over his head. If Senators owner Eugene Melnyk were intent on completely ridding the organization of Murray and his regime, why would he sign off deals that saw Kelly and Elliott leave town with no input from his possible successor?
Who knows? Perhaps Murray will be back as the GM after all, something that would be welcome news to Anderson and his agent.
“Is Craig open to signing (with the Senators) before July 1? Of course. Absolutely,” Duberman said. “But there are some variables out there. As a player, you want to know the bones of the organization before you sign and we don’t know what’s going on with that. But I can tell you that Craig and I are confident with the group they have in place there right now. Bryan is a straight-up, no nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is guy.”
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