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New arena news for the Sens/Potential Sens trade and UFA targets

June 23, 2022, 11:43 AM ET [111 Comments]
Kevin Francis
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As announced late this morning, The National Capital Commission has reached a memorandum of understanding with the Ottawa Senators on re-developing Lebreton Flats. They hope to have a lease signed by the fall of 2023 with construction beginning by the fall of 2024. The consortium will be led by the Ottawa Senators/Capital Sports Management Inc., Sterling Project Development, Populus, Tipping Points, and Live Nation. Although this is great news, many Senators fans want to know who will be paying for the building? It has raised even more questions than answers from the NCC board meeting this morning. The announcement will also trigger many questions in regards to the Sens ownership as many people close to the team will tell you that the Sens are in the red to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Naturally, getting the memorandum of understanding will increase the value of the Sens franchise, will that finally force Eugene's Melnyk's daughters to eventually sell the team in the next year? I will post a blog in the coming weeks regarding this exact question as I wait on a few of my sources to give me the green light on posting specific information regarding Sens ownership.

Here's a quick wrap up of what I've heard on a few Sens topics over the last 10 days.

With Darren Dreger reporting last week that Assistant GM Peter MacTavish was leaving the Ottawa Senators to take a position with Quartexx Management, it seems odd that the team has yet to release this info on their Twitter feed or website, something that they do regularly with any Sens related info. Then again, if you go back to June 28th, 2019, Clarke MacArthur was hired on a part-time basis to be part of the Sens Development Staff yet his photo has never been on the club's website as part of the organization nor has anyone seen or heard from him the last few years. If Trent Mann isn't promoted to the AGM position, don't expect him to stick around Ottawa too long as he wants to be an NHL GM one day. The fact that it's being reported, that Ottawa is searching for his replacement and hope to have this person in place by the NHL Draft on July 7th, one has to wonder why Mann wouldn't already have been offered the position. I was told if Mann was to become the AGM, that Rob Murphy would slide into Mann's role for the Senators. Murphy has served previously as director of scouting under Tim Murray with the Buffalo Sabres and would be a natural fit to replace Mann. Regardless, if this occurs, Dorion needs to add a few people on the hockey ops with both MacTavish and Pierre McGuire no longer a part of the organization.

I know Sens GM Pierre Dorion has reached out to TSN's Dave Poulin about joining the Sens front office but was turned down quickly. Personally, this is troublesome as MacTavish was born and raised in Ottawa but couldn't handle working with Dorion any longer. His departure spoke volumes as many go from the agent world to NHL front office jobs, but very few ever take a step back into the agent business. There are many around the league that want no part of working with Dorion, which probably explains why Poulin had no ambition of joining the Sens front office. Other names that Dorion has interviewed to expand the hockey ops department are two names that currently work on TV as analysts are TSN's Cheryl Pounder and Sportsnet's Jennifer Botterill. Ottawa is very interested in bringing Dion Phaneuf on board in hockey ops as he has shadowed Brendan Shanahan in the Leaf's front office for a few weeks back in January 2020.

With the NHL Draft fast approaching on July 7/8th , Dorion needs to move the Sen's number seven overall draft pick to acquire either a top six forward or top 4 defensemen. Dorion has told the Sens fanbase for over a year now that they would add one of the two most glaring needs and he has two weeks to accomplish this. Ottawa wants to acquire a player that has term left on his deal and at a reasonable AAV, due to the many issues Ottawa has had over the years trying to lure big name UFA's to the city. The Sens have talked to the Philadelphia Flyers going back to the trade deadline about possibly acquiring Travis Konecny. He has three years left at a 5.5 million AAV. Add to the fact that Konecny is a similar player to that of Max Domi, many in NHL circles feel he won't thrive under new head coach John Tortorella. If you recall, Domi had many issues with Tortorella during his days in Columbus, plus the Flyers want to clear cap space in the worst way to try to shape the roster that will suit Tortorella best. If Ottawa fails to get that elusive top six forward by using their number seven overall draft pick, then they'll be left no other choice than to overpay for someone as a UFA, starting on July 13th. One name that will be on many teams' radar is Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin, who would certainly slide in nicely in the Sens top six and is only 27 years old.

When looking at adding a top four defensemen, I've been told two names that Ottawa is targeting, both of which are RD. One is Josh Manson of the Avs, as he will be a UFA and will command at least a 4 or 5 year deal but at 30 years of age, the Sens need to be careful that if they signed him his contract wouldn't hurt them with their salary cap down the road with other young players needing new deals. The other player Ottawa has kicked the tires on is MacKenzie Weegar of the Florida Panthers, at 28 years of age, Ottawa born, he has one year left at 3.25 million AAV and if Ottawa was to use their number seven overall draft pick to acquire him, they would want to get a contract extension in place before completing a trade with the Panthers.

I am trying to nail down potential names that Ottawa is interested in when it comes to possible trades with the Arizona Coyotes and the Vegas Golden Knights over the next few days.

With Dorion needing to get many RFA's under contract while figuring out what he will do with Colin White, Nikita Zaitsev, and Michael Del Zotto it's safe to say over the next month that Dorion will be under the microscope more than he's ever been as GM of the Senators.

Comments, thoughts Sens fans?!

Thanks for reading.
Kevin
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