Sens owner preaches ‘wise’ spending after lucrative TV deal


By Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s own admission, his team has lost $110 million from when he took over in 2003 through Oct. 2013. At that time, he suggested that the Senators, which have the fifth lowest cap hit in the league, were still open to being buyers at the deadline.

Now that they have inked a broadcast deal with Bell Media believed to be worth up to $400 million over 12 years, you would assume that Melnyk will open up his wallet. And that might be the case – to an extent.

“We are going to be competitive in spending on players,” Melnyk promised, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “If I need to spend an extra $2 million to $3 million (on unrestricted free agents) to make the playoffs, it’s a no-brainer. I’ll do it.”

At the same time, Melnyk wants the team to spend “wisely” and cautioned that having extra money doesn’t automatically lead to spending more.

It will be an interesting storyline as we head towards the deadline given that the Senators are fiercely battling for a postseason spot and are in a unique position to add aggressively with their excessive cap space. If they prove to be major buyers at the deadline it would also help contrast them from the team that couldn’t lock up Daniel Alfredsson over the summer.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.