OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is trying to trade a goaltender and perhaps clear some room under the NHL salary cap. The Senators have Craig Anderson, Robin Lehner and late-season hero Andrew Hammond under contract for next season.
In a marketplace where there are other teams trying to move goaltenders, it looks like Murray will have his work cut out for him.
"I think what's happening at the moment is teams are going team-to-team and kind of seeing what the price is to get a goaltender," Murray said. "All I've said to each one of them is, 'If you want the best one, you better call Ottawa because we have the best guy to trade.' I sincerely believe that.
"We certainly are open for business and we do have a few moves we'd like to make, an upgrade or two on the team if we could, and obviously moving a couple of contracts would have to be a part of that deal."
Murray said he would prefer to trade either Anderson or Lehner, and there has been more interest in Lehner. Murray said the decision has been made on which goaltenders the Senators would prefer to keep, but he remains open to all offers.
Ideally, he also would like to move a contract in a trade. Forwards David Legwand and Colin Greening, two veterans coach Dave Cameron took out of the lineup in favor of younger players, are candidates to be packaged with a goaltender.
"We're talking that way. We're talking about moving a player along with a goaltender," Murray said. "But we're looking for return as well. It's not going to be, 'Take this contract and we'll let you have [the goaltender].' We're certainly talking in that vein."
Greening has two years remaining on his contract at an annual average value of $2.65 million. Legwand has one year left at $3.5 million. Greening had one goal in 26 games and was a healthy scratch during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Legwand had nine goals in 80 games and had zero points in three playoff games.
Murray said it would be best for all concerned if any goaltender trade could be made around the 2015 NHL Draft, allowing the players who change teams time to settle into their new cities. But if there isn't a trade there for the Senators' liking, Murray said he's prepared to start training camp with the three goaltenders still in the fold.
"There's no problem bringing three guys to camp and let them fight it out," he said.
Murray said trade talks have been in a lull lately, but he expected things to pick up when general managers meet next week in Las Vegas during the NHL Awards and then gather at the 2015 draft, which will be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The first round will be held Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports); rounds 2-7 will be Saturday (10 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, SN1).
"It's not really rushing you off your feet right now," Murray said. "I'd like to talk to a few more teams, but I have talked to a few of the teams consistently about what they might want to do and what we could do. I think as we get into the weekend and the GM meeting in Vegas will probably bring a lot more attention to the players that are going to be moved, if possible."
The Senators were able to take care of one other piece of offseason business Thursday, signing forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a two-year, one-way contract. Pageau, 22, will make $700,000 next season and $1.1 million in 2016-17 for an average annual value of $900,000. He split 2014-15 between the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League and Ottawa, and had 10 goals and nine assists in 50 NHL games after establishing himself as a reliable third-line center.
"I'm pretty happy," Pageau said. "It's something I wanted to get done as soon as possible. I'm always having fun playing for the Senators and take pride to play for the Sens. To have the chance to play two more years for them, I'm really, really happy.
"I take it as a motivation. It takes a lot pressure off my shoulders. Now I can really focus and just go all out every morning when I work out at the rink."
Murray said contract offers were made to impending restricted free-agent forwards Alex Chiasson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad (Hoffman and Chiasson have arbitration rights). Murray said he is interested in bringing back forward Erik Condra, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Condra had chemistry playing on a third line with Pageau and rookie Curtis Lazar. That line was one of the Senators' most effective in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens, which the Senators lost 4-2.
"It's the number of bodies we have here. It's the number of young players we have," Murray said of the challenges in keeping Condra. "Dave Cameron and the coaching staff really like Erik. We all like Erik. He's an honest guy who was one of the leaders in the room. If I can just get him to shoot the puck in the net more often we'd really like him.
"He's a good player and at some we'll have a discussion, and it will have to be in the next week or so about what we're doing. We'd like to keep him."
Murray said buying out a player is not being considered at this point.