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Senators, Meszaros not close to new contract

TSN.ca Staff

8/29/2008 1:34:28 AM

The Ottawa Senators and restricted free agent defenceman Andrej Meszaros are still far apart in discussion about a new contract.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray spoke to the media at the Bell Sensplex on Thursday and addressed the impasse.

"We've tried to make presentations with a variety of offers and terms, but they've been rejected at this point and time," Murray told reporters.  "So there's nothing more."

Murray wouldn't say how far apart the two sides were, only offering, "we're some distance apart." The Ottawa Sun, however, reports that Meszaros is seeking $4.5 million a year, while Ottawa is offering closer to $3.5 million.

The Hockey News has subsequently reported that Meszaros has signed an offer sheet with another team worth more than $5 million per season, but the Senators are denying it while Meszaros' agent Ritch Winter told TSN, "No comment," when asked about the offer sheet signing.

Murray said the club had submitted different offers, from one-year deals to five-year deals, but have received little response from the Meszaros camp.

"I think Mez is a potentially good young defenceman who had a bit of an off-year this past year, and we've asked their camp to entertain that in what we're trying to do with him," Murray stated.  "I think we've made more than a fair offer and put ourselves in a position where he could come here and, with some help, we think he can be a top player.

"We need their camp to help us in that area as well.  I've tried to get that message across, but to this point, we haven't gotten there."

Murray was also asked if the possibility of Meszaros going to the new Russia Continental Hockey League was discussed in negotiations.

"His agent has brought that up.  There have been a variety of scenarios that they've passed back to us," Murray said, "Russia certainly being one of them."

Murray also acknowledged that if Meszaros didn't sign, the Senators would look to fill the job internally and that the team was not entertaining the idea of a trade at this point.

Meszaros played in all 82 games for the Senators last season, recording nine goals and 27 assists.  In 246 career games with Ottawa, the 22-year old has 26 goals and 84 assists.