The Ottawa Senators are falling flat this season, carrying a 9-10-0 record that currently has them ranked third-to-last in the NHL. They rank 28th in goals-for through the early season as well, despite having nine different skaters with 10 or more points. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch shared that, as the team continues to struggle, head coach D.J. Smith’s seat is becoming one of the hottest in Ottawa. Garrioch added that new GM Staios isn’t looking to make a change yet, but continued losses could force his hand to make a change sooner rather than later.
Smith has been with the Senators since the 2019-20 season, stepping into his first head coaching role in the NHL after four seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s commanded 310 games with Ottawa, setting a losing record of 129-149-32. Ottawa has also failed to make the playoffs under his leadership, although they’ve only managed three playoff berths since 2010.
It’s been a different coaching experience for Smith, who proved highly successful in his time as the head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals from 2012 to 2015. Through his three years with the Generals, he led the team to three playoff runs, capping it off with a run to the J. Ross Robertson Cup and a Memorial Cup win. Smith’s championship-winning Generals lineup was led by Michael Dal Colle and Cole Cassels, with support from standouts like Anthony Cirelli, Michael McCarron, and Mitchell Vande Sompel.
Garrioch emphasized that Staios is hoping that Ottawa can right the ship before a coaching change is necessary. The team has played the fewest games in the league in the early season, three fewer than anyone else in the Atlantic Division, and ranks 23rd in the league in point percentage. The team could regroup as they catch up to their peers in games played. But if they can’t, changes could continue to flow in for a Senators team currently facing a new owner and general manager.