It’s been another rough year for the Ottawa Senators, it’s time to form the foundation for a much-needed rebuild.
Less than two years from being a goal away from the Stanley Cup Final, the Ottawa Senators are in dead last of the Eastern Conference with a 19-26-5 record. That puts them 18 points back of third place in the Atlantic Division and 15 points back of the second wildcard spot.
So, the Senators are going to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year. This wasn’t an unexpected result, last year was just as poor (The Sens were 16-24-9 at this point last year) and with the trade of Erik Karlsson before the season began the team was looking barren on defense and not much better up front or in net. And while the offense has performed admirably, the defense and goaltending have hampered the team.
With no first round pick this year (Avalanche property thanks to the Matt Duchene trade, in case you forgot), Duchene and Mark Stone on expiring contracts, and the likelihood that Guy Boucher and Pierre Dorion may lose their jobs this summer, the Sens are looking straight in the face of an enormous rebuild that may take years.
Build The Foundation
At this point, the earlier the Ottawa Senators begin to tear down the current organizational model, the better. If that means relieving Boucher, Dorion and the staff of their duties, then it needs to be done. The future of the team depends on how ownership will handle trades and contracts over the next few months.
The key to a successful rebuild is finding a GM who has a vision for the future, and unfortunately, Dorion isn’t that kind of GM. His trade record has been poor, and he has failed to keep a consistent core to help keep the team as a contender. His vision has always been about the present, and that kind of mentality is not going to cut it if the Sens decide to endure a long rebuild.
Another important storyline going into the rebuild would be gathering picks and prospects for the future. The Sens showed they understand this by trading Erik Karlsson to San Jose, but the return wasn’t enough for one of the best players of his generation. The team will need to be better when it comes to trades, which brings us to…
To Extend Or Trade? That Is The Question
If the Sens can re-sign them then it’s a win. Both are having stellar campaigns (50 points in 50 games for Stone, 47 points in 41 games for Duchene) and would be great faces of the franchise.
But if they can’t get those two to agree to extensions, then the organization will need to get as much in return for them as possible. If the Sens talk to other teams and the best offer happens to come from within the Atlantic Division, take the deal. It’ll suck seeing those two playing for a rival (Especially a Canadian team like Montreal or Toronto) but it’ll be what’s best for business.
Ottawa Senators Fans…
There’s a long road ahead for the players, organization and, most importantly, the fan base.
Over the last two years, the fans have seen the Sens fall just short of the Stanley Cup, seen some of their best players be traded for far less than their value, been thrown under the bus repeatedly by the team’s owner and have faced constant talks of the team moving out of Ottawa.
But you, the fans, have the power to change the Ottawa Senators for the better.
Say Eugene Melnyk does nothing. If that happens, you guys will inevitably grow sick of it and stop showing up for games (You already are).
Why is that good? If there’s one thing Melnyk cares about more than his own pride and ego, it’s money. Why do you think he wants a new arena downtown? To raise attendance and hike up prices. If you let your voices be heard, maybe, just maybe, he’ll get out-of-the-way and let actual hockey executives take care of the team.