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Sens' Murray nowhere near done

by Dan Rosen
Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly are gone, and Senators GM Bryan Murray indicated Tuesday night that more will follow those two out of Canada's capital city over the next 12 days.

"I've got two players gone. If you're going to try to retool the organization there have to be more than that go," Murray told reporters during his press conference to announce that Kelly had been traded to Boston for the Bruins' second-round pick in 2011. "There have to be doors open for other people. You can either do it or not do it. It's hard to do, but we're doing it. We're going to retool the budget, we're going to retool the organization and there are going to be some painful nights here."

There have been plenty already. Until recently the Senators have been barely competitive on most nights. They are 2-13-5 over their last 20 games and have fallen behind the Devils and Islanders into last place in the Eastern Conference. They're only three points better than the Edmonton Oilers.

"We've had such a dreadful year, such a disappointing year for what we thought we were going to be," Murray said. "This is the end result."

So, who is next to go? If you're paying attention you keep hearing that Chris Phillips, Jarkko Ruutu and Alex Kovalev are most definitely available. They're all in the final year of their contracts. Chris Neil is another name that has been mentioned. He has two years and $4 million left on his contract. Filip Kuba, who has one more year on his deal, could be had, too.

Murray said he has a list of guys that are untouchable, but he specifically mentioned only captain Daniel Alfredsson and All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson on Tuesday.

"I am not trying to trade everybody," Murray said. "I'm trying to move some other people, but it's certainly not a housecleaning by any means."

Nobody would blame him if it was.

He'd probably love to move Jason Spezza, who is making $7 million per season through 2015, but that doesn't seem likely. Sergei Gonchar, signed for two more years at a $5.5 million cap hit, would also appear untradeable because of his contract and age.

However, Murray clearly has been given the green light to blow up the team and start over. He said he has spoken to Colorado GM Greg Sherman and Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini about the difficulties of a rebuilding project, but is confident that it's the only way for the Senators to go right now.

He won't even speculate on how long it will take for the Senators to become a contender again.

"I'm hoping that we're competitive right away, but I'm not going to suggest that because it's the wrong thing for me to say," Murray said. "All I can tell you is we're going to try to put young people on some spots on the team, and we're going to try to encourage them to play hard every night and be a fun team to watch."

Who will be in that mix?

Well, Karlsson for sure, and probably goalie Robin Lehner as well. Defensive prospects Jared Cowen, David Rundblad and Patrick Wiercioch are on the come and should all have a shot to make the team out of camp next season. Ottawa doesn't have as much forward depth in its system, but Zack Smith and Bobby Butler are getting some NHL experience lately.

"I'm not going to pick the team tonight," Murray said. "We'll wait for that.

"With two first-round picks and two second-round picks we can do something to help this team by the fall. That's my main objective right now."

Who knows how many more picks and prospects he'll stockpile before 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 28?

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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