Perhaps excited by the extension of Anthony Duclair and the additional second-round pick added by the Erik Karlsson contract, both occurring earlier today, Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion was very positive and open when speaking with the media today. Per The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Dorion began by discussing the team’s plans for the upcoming NHL Draft. The Senators will travel to Vancouver tomorrow to begin meetings ahead of the round one of the draft on Friday night, but Dorion has already had many conversations with rival GM’s. Dorion states that he has already spoken with multiple teams about possibly moving up in the first round from No. 19. The Senators are without their own first-rounder, owed to the Colorado Avalanche from last year’s Matt Duchene trade, but the team was fortunately able to recoup a top pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets in their own sale of Duchene. With that said, No. 19 is not exactly where a rebuilding team would like their first pick to be, even though Ottawa already has a deep, talented pipeline. Following the Karlsson news, CapFriendly reports that the Senators now have 28 picks in the next three drafts, including 16 in the top three rounds. That is plenty of ammunition if Dorion decides that he wants to move up the board on Friday. Teams like the Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks have hinted at their willingness to move back, while the Colorado Avalanche may also be open to moving their second pick in the round, No. 16. If Dorion is intent on moving up, he should be able to find a taker.
- Dorion also made the somewhat surprising reveal that the Senators are not pursuing a contract extension with free agent forward Magnus Paajarvi. Paajarvi, 28, has spent the past season and half with Ottawa after coming over from the St. Louis Blues on waivers in 2017-18. Although the 2009 tenth overall pick has never been able to live up to his draft stock nor his rookie year production, Paajarvi has grown into a solid two-way player and enjoyed the best season since his first in Ottawa this past year. Paajarvi seemed like a safe bet to stay with the Senators, especially given his key role on the penalty kill, but Dorion has other plans. He did say that talks continue with fellow UFA’s Oscar Lindberg and Brian Gibbons, both of whom performed well after deadline trades, as well as RFA defenseman Cody Ceci. As for Paajarvi, he’ll likely land on his feet elsewhere in the league once free agency opens.
- Finally, Dorion announced that a contract resolution with RFA goaltender Marcus Hogberg is imminent. Hogberg is expected to sign with the team this week after rumors emerged early this off-season that he was considering a move to Europe. It remains possible that Hogberg could still be loaned elsewhere, as his signing only adds to a logjam of keepers in both Ottawa and AHL Belleville. The Senators expect to enter next season with a tandem of veteran Craig Anderson and returnee Anders Nilsson. As of now, Mike Condon will also be in the mix. In the minors, the team hopes to give top goalie prospect Filip Gustavsson, college standout Joey Daccord, and now Hogberg the time in net they need to develop properly. If that is going to be impossible, even with a likely Condon departure, Hogberg is the top candidate to be loaned away, despite his advantage in pro experience.