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The Ottawa Senators can start looking towards off-season changes now

作者:admin 2020-05-31

A different end to a different season in a different time in our lives.

Ottawa Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion will hold his end of season press conference with local media via a Zoom call Thursday afternoon to look back on last year and look ahead to the uncertainty of the 2020-21 campaign whenever it gets under way.

While this session is normally held a couple of days after the season wraps up with Dorion at a podium in the media room at the Canadian Tire Centre, the timing is the same after the NHL announced Tuesday the Senators won’t return to finish the year, but this time he’ll be in the office he’s been using at his Ottawa home for the last 77 days since the NHL went on pause March 12.

Yes, much of the talk will surround the preparations being made by the organization for the draft lottery set for June 26 and the actual crapshoot itself whenever it’s held. But, there will also be discussion about coach D.J. Smith’s first year behind the bench, the future of goalie Craig Anderson, a unrestricted free agent this summer, and the changes that will be made in the off-season.

Since commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly haven’t made it clear when next season will get under way, it’s hard to say when the Senators will actually start training camp. The best guess is sometime in mid-November which means it may be nine months between the club’s last game on March 11 in Los Angeles and the next time they’re on the ice to start a new year.

A GM’s job is never done in the NHL and Dorion has plenty on his plate but he’s well-prepared for whatever hurdles await in the off-season.

During a conference call with the league Tuesday, the teams done for the year were told if they wanted to bring their players in for some kind of get-together (development camp) that option was available so you can have access to your players, but you have to wonder if it’s really worth it to go to that trouble and to take the health risks involved with travelling if it’s not absolutely necessary.

There will be changes, there always are, and the expectation is the Senators will have no shortage of new faces next season. The likes of top prospects Josh Norris, Drake Batherson, Alex Formenton, Logan Brown, Vitaly Abramov and Erik Brannstrom should all push for spots under coach D.J. Smith.

The club’s top selection from last spring, defenceman Lassi Thomson, should be coming overseas from Finland to play in the AHL next season but there’s uncertainty surrounding when Belleville will get its season under way so that a situation to keep an eye on.

As for Anderson, it’s doubtful he will return after a decade in the club’s uniform. The 38-year-old is the winningest goalie in franchise history with 202 victories, but his contract will expire this summer. Ottawa already has Anders Nilsson and Marcus Hogberg under contract for next year while Filip Gustavsson, Joey Daccord, Kevin Mandolese and Mads Sogaard are in the organization.

The club also has to decide on the future of unrestricted free agent defencemen Mark Borowiecki and Ron Hainsey. Dorion has expressed in the past he’d like to keep both and so would Smith.

We’ll get a good idea where the organization is headed after a discussion with Dorion Thursday.

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter: @sungarrioch

 

 

 

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