Armed with a new three-year extension, Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has a tough task ahead of him, but he has already said that change is coming. He has stated that he has been listening to offers for the entire team with the exception of captain Erik Karlsson, winger Mark Stone and defenseman Thomas Chabot after a tough season which sees them in seventh place in the Atlantic Division after a season in which they went to the Eastern Conference finals last season.
The Ottawa Citizen’s Bruce Garrioch writes the real question is how big of a change will Dorion want to make at the deadline or during the offseason. Names have surfaced range from Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ryan Dzingel, Cody Ceci, Dion Phaneuf and Johnny Oduya.
“The phone is always busy,” Dorion said. “We’ve put ourselves in the position that we are and people know that last year we had a lot of players that were key components to us getting to the final four teams. I think other teams are looking at us. We have the assets, but we’re going to make good hockey deals and that’s very important for this organization.”
The Senators are looking for established young players, who have NHL experience already as well as high-end prospects and picks. Of course, the team is unlikely to trade their whole team away either.
“These next three weeks are very important for the team that we need to set in place for the following years,” Dorion said. “At the same time, branding something, telling people exactly what our plan is, isn’t the best course of action. There will be changes that will be made.”
- Tom Brennan of The Ottawa Sun writes that the Ottawa Senators front office mayhem continued last week when they announced that president and CEO Tom Anselmi would be vacating his role. The scribe believes he resigned three weeks ago, because of what one source described as “craziness.” In 24 months, the Senators have gone through two presidents, three chief financial officers and three chief marketing officers. With the team struggling in attendance, hiring Dorion to an extension might have been one of the smartest moves owner Eugene Melnyk has done in quite a while and shows that he wants stability within the organization.
- The Ottawa Sun’s Ken Warren writes that with the news that the Senators are taking a step back and trying to rebuild the team will only hasten the departure of Karlsson. Why would Karlsson want to stay on a team with front office instability and has already admitted they intend to rebuild? On top of that, Warren believes the team likely doesn’t want to commit $80-$100MM. It looks more likely the team would be more likely to shed salary.
- In the same article, Warren also points out that Dorion still has a lot to prove as general manager. While he’s drafted well, some of Dorion’s moves have been questionable, including trading prospect Jonathan Dahlen for fourth-liner Alexandre Burrows, whose contract is only holding the team back. Exposing defenseman Marc Methot in the expansion draft didn’t help as he was a great partner to Karlsson. The scribe also adds that he believes the team overpaid for both Pageau and Smith.