TORONTO (CP) - The Ottawa Senators avoided salary arbitration with Ray Emery and Christoph Schubert and now aim to do the same with Chris Kelly.
"We're hoping that we can get that resolved as well," Bryan Murray said Tuesday.
The Senators GM had a meeting planned with Kelly's agent Pat Morris later Tuesday. It capped what was already a busy day, Emery re-signed to a US$9.5-million, three-year contract while Schubert agreed to a $2.65-million, three-year deal.
The deal with Emery was struck moments before the two sides were to begin their arbitration hearing at a downtown Toronto hotel.
Both sides were happy to avoid arbitration, where the team and player are pitted against each other.
"They say some guys get upset in there," Emery said on a conference call. "I'm just happy to finish this thing."
Murray and Emery's agent J.P. Barry began to close the gap Monday night but it wasn't until right at the very last moment before the 9 a.m. ET hearing Tuesday that a deal was done. Murray was worried how the hearing would affect Emery.
"That was one of the thoughts I had last night when I was talking to the agent," said Murray. "That we have to testify and say things that we feel are right, but when you say it to a player sometimes he doesn't take it very well, or he doesn't understand why you would say such a thing. ...
"I think there is hangover," added Murray. "There's no question, no matter how you cut it, at the end of the day when the manager testifies or the coach testifies, there are feelings that are affected."
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.
"I like the fact we have three years with him," said Murray. "He's young, we believe he's getting better and we'll certainly know that at the end of this 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.
"I like Ottawa," said Emery. "I realize we have a great team. I know the guys, I know Bryan Murray, John Paddock. It's a comfortable fit for me."
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.
Schubert, 25, will earn $850,000 next season and $900,000 in each of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He had 25 points (8-17) and a plus-30 rating in 80 regular-season games last season while making $525,000. He added one assist in 20 playoff games. His arbitration hearing had been scheduled for Friday.
So far only Brooks Laich of the Washington Capitals has gone ahead with his salary arbitration hearing. His award is expected Wednesday. The next scheduled hearing is Antti Miettinen and the Dallas Stars on Thursday followed by Derek Roy of the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
Kelly's hearing isn't slated until Aug. 1.
In the meantime, Murray will explore the market for expensive backup Martin Gerber, who has $7.4 million left on his deal over the next two years.
"I'll see if there's anything out there for him," said Murray. "It doesn't appear at the moment that there will be. But we'll certainly investigate."
Defenceman Wade Redden, however, is staying put. Murray admitted he explored trade talks but that Redden declined a chance to move. He's earning $6.5 million next season in the last year of a deal.
"I'm not shopping him at all," said Murray. "I had a deal that I could go with (at the NHL draft). I talked to Wade and Donnie Meehan, his agent, they decided they didn't want to be traded. He wanted to stay and play in Ottawa.
"When you have a no-trade clause the player has that option and he exercised it."