The Ottawa Senators have been seeking a President of Hockey Operations for some time, but they will hold on a while longer to make a hire. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the team has decided to end their search for a President, at least through this season, although he also casts doubt on whether they will renew the search. To this point, their attempts to find a man for the role have been fruitless and the team is likely to go back to the drawing board.
It was back in March that the team first announced that they were searching for someone to take on the President role. In the midst of a last-place campaign, many felt that it was the death knell of GM Pierre Dorion. However, the team was quick to note that the hiring would not be to undermine or threaten Dorion, but instead to assist and support. Owner Eugene Melnyk has remained consistent in his confidence in Dorion and it is that faith that likely led to the team feeling comfortable in suspending their presidential search.
Well, that and their failure to attract a qualified name. A report in April suggested that the likes of Dean Lombardi, Mike Gillis, Trevor Linden, Joe Nieuwendyk and current NHL GM’s Steve Yzerman and Ron Francis had all been approached about the position, but turned down the opportunity. While many might assume that the current status of the Ottawa roster is to blame for the lack of interest, the Senators actually have a strong pipeline of young talent that should intrigue any hockey mind. Instead, it is likely the reputation of Melnyk and skepticism of his willingness to spend to the salary cap that have scared off the qualified candidates. Rather than rush into a decision on sub-prime option for the job, it is likely that Melnyk and company preferred to stick with the loyal Dorion and continue to ride out this rebuild without addition supervision. Only time will tell how it will all play out and whether the team will circle back to finding a president down the road.