Day One of free agency went as expected for Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion. There was lots of chatter around the league, a few big deals were completed. But for the most part the day was more about signing depth players to short-term contracts.
The Senators did their part, bringing back UFA forward Matthew Peca on a one-year, two-way deal while signing another, Logan Shaw to a two-year, two-way contract. The pair are likely tagged to mentor the youngsters in Belleville.
Peca who played 14 games, posting two assists with the Senators after being acquired from the Canadiens at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Aaron Luchuk and a 2020 seventh-round pick, receives $700,000 at the NHL level, $300,000 (AHL).
The 27-year old has recorded 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 73 career NHL games spanning stints with Tampa Bay, Montreal, including Ottawa.
“Matt Peca played for us last year and did a good job. We were able to retain his services and he’s someone who will challenge for a job when training camp comes around. We liked what he brought to the table,” said Dorion via Zoom Friday evening.
Year One of Shaw’s contract calls for $700,000 (NHL), $375,00 (AHL); Year Two, $750,000 (NHL), $375,000 (AHL).
The right wing split last season between Winnipeg and the American League Manitoba Moose – compiling five points (three goals, two assists) in 35 games with the Jets, and seven points (four goals, three assists) in 16 games with the AHL Moose.
Shaw has appeared in 215 NHL games (15 goals, 21 assists) since making his debut with the Panthers in 2015-16. In addition to Florida and the Jets, the Glace Bay, NS native has suited up for the Ducks and Canadiens.
“Logan Shaw who’s a high character right wing/centre that will provide good depth for us. He can come up and play PK, and will also challenge for a spot on the team when the season starts.”
But the news of the day involved the Senators’ signing freshly-acquired goalie Matt Murray to a four-year, $25 million contract. A restricted free agent, Murray actually received the highest average annual value ($6.25M) of any netminder who agreed to a deal on the opening day of free agency.
“I think it’s an important message to our fans to start off. It’s also an important message to our players that he will be here for the next four years. We’re in it to win,” explained the Senators GM. “We’ve got someone who has the experience of winning Cups who will have a stabilizing presence in our net. And he just brings experience of going through it. As our younger defensemen step into the lineup, he’ll reassure them. He’ll bring that calming presence there. It shows our fans and our players that we’re committed to this. We’re committed to the plan, to building something for the long term in Ottawa.”
TSN caught up with Murray near his Muskoka home during their broadcast Friday afternoon, “I’m excited for it. I’m really thankful for the opportunity quite honestly. I see a really good fit for me there, and also for my family. It’s also a really good fit for us. I think I fit in there well, age-wise with a team that’s heading in the right direction that’s about to turn a corner. I can’t wait get there and get going.”
Dorion admitted the club is still speaking to agents and is continuing to gauge the forward market.
The call did circle back to Anthony Duclair, the Senators’ 23-goal scorer that didn’t receive a qualifying offer Wednesday.
“We didn’t come to a contract agreement with Anthony. He’s gone to free agency. I think he’s assessing the market. We’re assessing the market. And we’re going to see what comes about it. We’re looking at multiple scenarios. We keep on discussing potential additions here. We’ll see what comes about it in the next few days.”
“Our priority is adding some pieces up front. We’re going to be diligent. We’re going to be sure, we’re going to add the right pieces and we’ll keep on discussing with free agents or acquire players via trade.”