(Ottawa) Pierre Dorion believes the future of the Ottawa Senators is bright, but he’s not sure if he’ll be around long enough to see the team triumph.
The chief executive met with members of the media on Monday and admitted he found himself in a special situation as a new group of owners take control of the team over the next few months.
Dorion was named general manager in April 2016 and the Senators have made the playoffs only once since the start of his reign – after his first season. If he is still in charge of the team next fall, he will become the first general manager in the salary cap era to stay on after six straight seasons without making the playoffs.
With the new ownership group in place, expectations will be high for the team, which missed the spring tournament by just six points this spring.
Dorion, 50, met with several groups interested in buying the team and presented his plan to return the Senators to the NHL’s elite.
Dorion sounded less confident on other occasions, saying “yes” when discussing his role with the team, adding that he was going to “let these people determine my fate.”
There’s no question the Senators look set to take the next step, but head coach D.J. Smith’s future is uncertain whether or not Dorion returns.
On Friday, Smith admitted he was unsure if he would be back next season. Dorion did not want to confirm anything on Monday.
“I’m going to sit down in the near future and think about all this,” Dorion said. But I think it still delivered the goods and I would recommend it to new owners right now. »
Smith still has one season left on his contract and the club has an option for the 2024-25 season.
The Senators will therefore want to improve their options in net. Anton Forsberg is the only goalkeeper whose return has been confirmed with the big club.
Mads Sogaard was called in as backup when Forsberg and Talbot fell in battle this season, but Dorion seems doubtful the Dane is ready for a full-time NHL role.
“We believe he’s our goalkeeper for the future,” Dorion insisted. He is someone who will eventually take charge, but you have to be patient. »
The Senators will also want to improve their support staff.
Speaking of the positives from the past season, Dorion was quick to name several players, including rookie Jake Sanderson, Erik Brannstrom, Shane Pinto, Claude Giroux and Travis Hamonic, saying they all exceeded his expectations.
Dorion praised the work of Giroux, who joined the Senators as a free agent last summer.
And according to Dorion, Tim Stützle has become a star.
“I think he’s going to be one of the top five or 10 players in the league,” Dorion said. He is only 21 years old and he is very good. »
Regardless of whether he’s back or not, Dorion believes the current group of players will provide fans with special moments for years to come.
“Our fans have been patient,” Dorion said. I think it was interesting to see how our players reacted in important games at the end of the season.
“We’ve faced a lot of adversity over the past few seasons. I believe this will help our team progress in the long term,” he concluded.