Bryan Murray is already looking ahead.

The Senators GM closed the door on the shortened season Tuesday and started looking towards next year as he tries to make this club a contender in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking at his season-ending news conference at Scotiabank Place, Murray -- who never felt this club reached its potential because of all the injuries -- told reporters he has one major goal.

"We have to score more goals. We have to find a way to create a little more offence," said Murray. "That may mean trying to find a player out there who will do that.

"Part of it also, will be counting on a couple of the younger players that showed they could play in the league to do a little more with the puck than maybe they were capable, or able to do, this year."

Murray said he will consider packaging prospects to get help offensively. There could be more of those players available because the cap is going down to $63 million and some teams might be in the mood to unload before July 5 free agency.

"At this stage of our development we certainly want the growth to continue," said Murray. "We have young players, first and second year pros that will improve and make our team more competitive.

"If there's a deal to be made, I have to take a hard look at it. If it means trading a young player or two I've got to be open-minded to do that to try to make this team better."

Murray said he has already made decisions on Mike Lundin, Guillaume Latendresse and Peter Regin.

"I'm going to let them know first," said Murray.

As for defenceman Sergei Gonchar, Murray said he'll speak to Gonchar and his agent before announcing a decision. Don't expect any of the quartet to return.

Coach Paul MacLean told reporters he was proud of the work the club did. He said he fully expects there will be changes, notng several serious injuries to key players injuries allowed the club's prospects to accelerate their development.

"We're tremendously pleased with the process of where we are to getting good," said MacLean. "I'm looking forward to (training camp next year) right now because we actually have some decisions to make and some hard ones.

"That's a good sign for our team. I look forward to it and I'm excited about it already."

MacLean is excited but nervou