Ottawa Senators fans are desperately waiting for news of a long-term extension, though this isn’t exactly what they had in mind. The Senators have signed general manager Pierre Dorion to a contract extension through the 2024-25 season. Dorion’s previous contract only carried him through 2021-22, meaning he was heading into this season without any security. The new deal, which was completed today, includes a club option for the 2025-26 season.
Eugene Melnyk, the Senators owner, released a statement:
We’re very pleased to sign Pierre to a second extension as Senators general manager. Dating to when he was named GM in 2016, Pierre has worked tirelessly towards building an organization that can compete with the National Hockey League’s best. He’s dedicated, detailed and maintains a sound hockey mind. Under Pierre’s leadership, we have the utmost confidence that this team will soon be recognized as one that is consistently meriting success.
While there have certainly been questionable moves in the past, especially regarding the retention of star talent in Ottawa, there’s no doubt that Dorion has set the team up for success in the future. The collecting of young talent over the last few years has been impressive, and recently the team has had no trouble signing them to long-term deals. Thomas Chabot, Colin White, and Drake Batherson have all committed long-term to the team, though the focus now is on restricted free agent Brady Tkachuk and his next deal. The 21-year-old seems a likely candidate to be the team’s next captain, but there’s no deal in place yet to even have him in training camp when it opens later this month.
Almost regardless of what happens with Tkachuk though, there’s reason enough for optimism in Ottawa. The organization is loaded with high draft picks, both on the roster already like Tim Stutzle or waiting for their entry-level contract like Jake Sanderson. The 2020 draft alone saw Ottawa select at least six players that have a real shot at playing NHL minutes and the roster is already full of players 23-and-under.
There has been good work done by Dorion to take the departures–forced or not–of players like Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, and Matt Duchene and turn them into positives, giving the Senators have a bright future. Now comes the next phase, of managing the cap and retaining all that talent, something that the Ottawa organization has had trouble doing in the past.