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24 July 2007

Oh, Thank Goodness

It was an eleventh-hour deal but it still got done and that's what matters. The Ottawa Senators have managed to avoid arbitration with their number 1 goaltender Ray Emery just hours before his hearing was set to begin:

'It was a difficult negotiation,'' Emery's agent J.P. Barry told The Canadian Press. ''Bryan and I started pretty far apart but we worked hard to close the gap and were able to do so this morning after Bryan was able to speak with Mr. Melnyk.''

The 24-year-old Emery was a restricted free agent. He will earn $2.75 million next season, $3.25 million in 2008-09 and $3.5 million in 2009-10, for an average of $3.16 million a season, a big raise over the $925,000 he made last season.

He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the contract.

Emery emerged as Ottawa's starting goalie last season and led the team to a Stanley Cup final appearance. He went 33-16-6 in the regular season with a 2.47 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He was 13-7 with a 2.26 GAA and .907 save percentage. Emery has started all 30 of Ottawa's playoff games post-lockout.

The $3.16-million average for Emery eclipses the $2.66-million average salaries from Buffalo's Ryan Miller (signed last summer) and Carolina's Cam Ward and is less than the $4.25-million, one-year deal signed by New York Rangers starter Henrik Lundqvist.

Reports are that Emery turned down a contract that averaged $4 million per season so maybe the contentious issue was that of length and bonuses.

Update: The spreadsheet has been updated with Christoph Schubert's salary number, which averages out to be $833,333 per year (3-year deal worth $2.65 million in total). The red figure for Chris Kelly of $1,046,000 is a hypothetical amount. I don't expect him to come in for over $2 million, and $1.046 million was the number Muckler had previously offered Saprykin.

According to the math, it puts the Senators at just over $44 million. Kelly and Schubert shouldn't cost more than $2 million - $2.5 million which means the Senators could be looking at adding one or two more players. The Senators ought to look at adding at least another two forwards to the mix, assuming that re-signing Lawrence Nycholat was meant to replace Tom Preissing, the Senators should be set on the blue-line although understandably, another bigger, more physical d-man would also help. If the Senators can get another forward signed, Schubert could drop back to D.

However, it is clear that Murray's job isn't finished yet as there are still at least two holes to fill in the forward position. Depending on how he does at camp, Hennessey could be looking at staying on with the big club permanently and it is expected that Nick Foligno should challenge for a spot next year, but there's also no guarnatee on how much playing time Brian McGrattan will see.

UPDATE: That's another one crossed off the list as TSN is reporting that the Senators have re-signed RFA Christoph Schubert to a new 3-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed but I would probably peg it definitely at either $1 million or under. Perhaps somewhere in the $800,000 - $975,000 mark.

Parts cross-posted to Scarlett Ice

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