With just four days until the NHL Trade Deadline, the Ottawa Senators have yet to make a single move. For a team that is heading into a rebuild, time is ticking on general manager Pierre Dorion to make decisions regarding his organization’s future.
Ottawa Senators Mess: 96 Hours and Counting
It seems like the trade chatter around Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel has been going on for ages. Everyone can agree its time to put this matter to bed. In reality, there has been an internal mess with the team for quite some time now. Some might say it goes as far back as when Duchene was originally acquired from the Colorado Avalanche.
With added pressure, considering the deadline is close, Dorion is working the phones. The returns can only be speculated for the time being, but Sens fans are probably tugging on their collars considering the returns Dorion has gotten before. Most recently, the Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman trades left many scratching their heads.
Over the next four days, the decisions made will have huge implications on the future of the Ottawa Senators.
The Blame Game
When players are moved, there should be only one executive who should be making the final decisions: the general manager. For many years now, that narrative has not seemed accurate for the Ottawa Senators. Whether it has been that the team doesn’t like to spend money, or that the players do not wanna stay in Ottawa, it seems like there is always something brewing.
Based on his track record, you can argue that Pierre Dorion has not been a great general manager since taking over in 2016. Dorion has made a total of 25 trades so far. Over a two-and-a-half year span, the number of trades is not that unusual. Obviously, some of those are minor league trades. The questions still remains. Who is actually at the helm when it comes to contracts and trades within the team?
Calling the Shots
Owner Eugene Melnyk has given himself a bad reputation over the many years he’s owned the franchise. At times, he’s spoken way too much about the team.
But the biggest problem with Melnyk is his unwillingness to spend money. Whether the team is poor due to low ticket sales or not, this narrative has always swirled around him. Almost every move that the Sens have made in recent memory revolves around saving money.
Look no further than the Erik Karlsson trade. When Karlsson said last season that he would not take a hometown discount, it left a sour taste immediately. From then on, the talks about Karlsson potentially being traded or not re-signing kicked into high gear.
Much like the unwillingness to pay Erik Karlsson, Melnyk is once again proving that he is not willing to spend cash on the big three. General manager Pierre Dorion should not be given a get out of jail free card here but its evident on who is calling the shots within the Senators organization.
If Pierre Dorion was ever given the green light on making a trade by himself, then he should be held accountable also. All of this ends by simply getting a new owner. Except it’s not that easy. You can believe that Dorion has made mistakes, but the general manager doesn’t cut the cheques for his players. The owner does.
The final wait: A glamour of hope, or a crippling disaster
Before I sign off on this article, I do want to reinforce some hope for the Sens fanbase. Most of the points that were made here today were negative because well, the whole identity of the Senators is negative. The chances of Melnyk selling the team are slim. The best you can hope for is that it somehow happens soon.
But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Depending on who is still with the team at 3:01 p.m. on Monday, the returns could be something to be excited for. General managers around the league are known for overpaying on rentals. The Sens have three very valuable rentals. While many fans would like to see Stone re-signed and even be named the captain, maybe a return could look better instead.
Matt Duchene is one guy that shouldn’t be re-signed. If you really believe the Sens should rebuild, handing out an eight-year contract to a 28-year-olds isn’t the proper first step. With someone like Stone, you could afford to do that. He is two years younger and the best player on the team. Yes, you might have to pay more, but he’s still going to be great when the team is ready to compete.
The next few days are going to be full of anxiety and patience for fans, but keep that slim amount of hope that things might just go better than what you might’ve expected.
Main Photo: OTTAWA, ON – JANUARY 16: Ottawa Senators Center Matt Duchene (95) prepares for a face-off during third period National Hockey League action between the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators on January 16, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)