Senators general manager Bryan Murray speaks to the media after agreeing to a one-year contract extension with the team.
Bryan Murray is getting the chance to finish what he's started.
The Ottawa Senators announced today that Murray, the team's general manager, has been given a one-year contract extension through the 2010-11 season. Senators president Cyril Leeder called the move "a vote of confidence" in the growth the organization continues to show under Murray's direction.
Not only are the Senators riding a 13-1-0 stretch that has pushed them to the top of the Northeast Division, but they've done it by infusing young talent such as defenceman Erik Karlsson and centre Peter Regin into the mix. And there are more prospects on the way, giving the organization the kind of depth it needs to remain a Stanley Cup contender in the years to come.
"Bryan has proven that he is the right man to lead this team,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said in a statement. "Our team is now in a position to not only be competitive each season, but also to contend for the Stanley Cup. Bryan and his staff have worked hard to build an organization that now has the depth at the National Hockey League level and in our farm system that should allow us to be competitive for many years to come.
"As we approach the trade deadline, playoffs and (2010) entry draft, we wanted to demonstrate our confidence in Bryan by extending his contract.”
Melnyk and Murray mutually agreed to trigger a one-year option that existed in the original three-year contract he signed with the Senators. At this point in his career, the 67-year-old Murray said it's exactly what he wanted.
"When I originally signed the contract, we put a year in as an option," said Murray. "I wasn’t sure how long I wanted to continue in this business ... I'm not a spring chicken at this point by any means, but I feel very comfortable in being able to work for a while longer. We felt activating and using that option was the right thing to do.
"Bryan has proven that he is the right man to lead this team. Our team is now in a position to not only be competitive each season, but also to contend for the Stanley Cup. Bryan and his staff have worked hard to build an organization that now has the depth at the National Hockey League level and in our farm system that should allow us to be competitive for many years to come." - Eugene Melnyk
"I think it’s the right thing for me at this time in my career to go a year at a time, to enjoy the moment and certainly the growth of the organization. I feel very strongly that we have a number of young players who will step in and play over the next year or two. The challenges ahead are many but certainly, we have to enjoy where we are now and I’m very pleased that they’ve stepped up earlier than I expected and offered me the opportunity to stay on."
That the Senators have gone from missing the playoffs in 2008-09 to contender status in short order, Murray said, is "a real compliment to our coaching staff, to our scouts and to the people who work every day in this business who don't get recognized often."
"I'm hoping this is a turn up in the right way and it's going to be a long-lasting one."
One of Murray's biggest — and most immediate — concerns going forward is re-signing veteran defenceman Anton Volchenkov, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. A contract offer has been made and Murray is hopeful the two sides can come to an agreement soon.
"We like Anton and we're trying to do that," Murray said of the team's top pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. "Anton is a high-end defenceman in many areas for us. He's not a point-getter, by any means, but he's a guy we'd like to make a deal with if we could."
Volchenkov wants that to happen, too, saying that his preference is to remain a Senator.