East Notes: Senators, Capitals, Johnson

While the Senators made a big splash yesterday with the acquisition of winger Alex DeBrincatPostmedia’s Bruce Garrioch relays (Twitter links) that there are still a pair of priorities for Ottawa – adding a defenseman and moving Matt Murray with talks intensifying on that front. He adds that winger Connor Brown and blueliner Nikita Zaitsev could be players on the move.

Brown isn’t likely to sign an extension after suggesting he’d like to test free agency when he’s eligible next summer and at $3.6MM, he’d carry some trade value after being a key two-way player. Zaitsev, meanwhile, has two years left at a $4.5MM AAV and might be used to match salaries in a move for a defender. Murray blocked a trade to Buffalo on Thursday but the Senators are still looking to get out from the two years at $6.25MM per season left on his deal but will almost certainly need to pay down a fair-sized portion of that to facilitate a move.

More from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Capitals have interest in retaining pending unrestricted free agents justin schultz, Marcus Johanssonand John Larsson, notes Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic (subscription link). With Schultz, however, the 32-year-old blueliner would need to take a pay cut from the $4MM he made over each of the last two years for a deal to be done. Schultz is coming off a bit of a quiet year by his standards where he notched 23 points in 74 games. The other two forwards were trade deadline acquisitions and fit in well with El-Bashir highlighting that the possibility of Larsson returning could be tied to Carl Hagelin‘s situation with his availability for next season up in the air.
  • Sabers prospect defenseman ryan johnson will make his decision on whether or not to turn pro following their upcoming Development Camp, reports Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News. The 2019 first-round pick has one more year of college eligibility remaining and the team could interpret him staying at the University of Minnesota as an indication that he may be interested in testing free agency next summer. If that’s the case, Buffalo could look to move his rights in the coming weeks. If Johnson opts for free agency next August and his rights aren’t traded, the Sabers would receive the 64th pick in the 2024 draft as compensation.

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