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posted Jun 28, 2006 at 04:00PM

There you are, struggling to put in that built in dishwasher, or however you find yourself spending your summer evenings.. There is a violent pounding on your door. You open it to find a behemoth in a black suit. A limo is idling on the street behind him.

He informs you that there is a crisis over at the Senator's head offices. Melnyk needs to consult with you and right now. Dutifully you let yourself get driven to and led up to the inner sanctum.

There Melnyk informs you that Muckler has been fired and that you are now "the man." "Put the team together" he orders. And oh yes, he reminds you that he has promised the local fan base, a "dynasty".

What do you do? What do you do?

Anyways I thought it would be a neat exercise to get into arm-chair GM's role, if anything, just to get more familiar with what is involved in that area. My first cut at a team would go as follows:

(Name followed by upcoming season's salary. C = contracted salary, P = projected salary)

Prospective Additions

Jovanoski - $5.5 million
Jay Mckee - $3.5 million
Anson Carter - $3.1 million
Gerber - $4 million (Whoever ... the best goalie you can find for four million/year. For now, I will pencil in Gerber's name)

These four give a total of 16.1 million so the total salary roll of my first iteration comes out to $46.47 million dollars Ugh.

Line Up Check.

The above would give the following prospective line-up.


McGratton ("special" situations)

Prospective defense pairings could be as follows

Jovanoski / Phillips
Mckee / Meszaros
Pothier / Volchenkov

Fiscal Sanity Check

According to a TSN report. Ottawa will be working with a self-imposed salary cap of $40 million. The league salary cap is to be set around 44 million.

So this first cut is way over the stated budget.

Just as an aside, I do not know why they are even having "discussions" with Chara and Redden. They are simply not worth the money they are asking for (6.5 million plus) and their salaries would become an albatross around the team's neck, and threaten their long term viability and competitiveness.

Still it is obvious that my own first cut needs work.

Iteration No 2.

Well by keeping Fisher at his current salary, and by trimming the salaries for projected third and fourth liners, the new total for "existing players" is now 28.92 million.

That leaves $11.08 million to fill the remaining holes. We need two rock solid defencemen, another forward, and a number one goalie. As a rough planning tool that breaks down to 2.77 million/year per player.

Now $2.77 million/year should get you some very decent players for each position. Obviously the ratios can be played with. If getting that goalie is going to cost more then that position would have a priority in my way of thinking.

I do not want to get too hung up on names right now, and as I have mentioned before, I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of players outside of Ottawa. Obviously, in this scenario you would lean really hard on your scouts.

But in the end, you do have $11 million dollars in salary cap space. Varada and Arnason have been jettisoned. You have very marketable players in Smolinski and Havlat who are available as trade currency. This to fill four holes. It is not an insurmountable problem.

Indeed if you can get a deal on any one player you start having enough left over to go for that legitimate no 2 center, if not now for the full season then at trade dead-line.

I will leave things at that for now and just let the numbers "digest" for awhile. I will have to do some research and maybe troll for some ideas on the chat boards.

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