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Game #1 – Hawks vs. Senators Q&A: Brochenski

You find anyone willing to admit they’re a Senators fan these days. We were pointed to this person on Twitter, who confiscated our phones and made us where a shrouded hood while he drove in circles. We felt just like Pierre Dorion. Anyway, here’s what you need to know from the inside. 

We don’t want to be insulting, we know it’s been a rough summer for Senators fans, but…why are you even bothering this season?

 I guess at the end of the day it’s just entertainment. I’m still really looking forward to watching Mark Stone, who is one of my all-time favourite players. With Brassard gone and Pageau out for the year he won’t have good line mates, but that has never stopped him from producing or playing great defensively. I’m not sure if he’ll be a Senator after the deadline, but regardless he’ll be fun to watch.
Thomas Chabot on the top pair with Chris Wideman is also going to be great to watch. While Chabot was pretty bad defensively in his rookie season, he’s such a skilled player and has the potential to be a number #1 defenseman. I also think Wideman will surprise a lot of people. He was injured all last season, but in his 3rd pairing minutes the year before he was amazing. Size has always been an issue for him but he’s a good puck mover and does a great job of getting the puck to the net from the point.

Why should Pierre Dorion be trusted with the rebuild that is coming for the Senators? And if he’s not (he’s not) is there any hope that the higher-ups know it?

While so many of his trades have been brutal, Dorion’s biggest strength is his drafting ability. As a GM he’s managed to pluck some great prospects outside of the 1st round like Formenton (47th overall, 2017), Batherson (121st overall, 2017), and the Dahlen he traded for Burrows (42th overall, 2016). While the Sens don’t really have a young guy with star potential outside of Chabot, they have a surplus of players who look like a safe bet to develop into top six forwards/top 4 defensemen.
I honestly don’t see him getting fired any time soon. I think Eugene Melnyk really likes him, and they seem to have a strong relationship. What they need to focus on now is building up the front office. With no assistant general managers, Dorion was running the team alone all summer. They hired a lot of scouts over the past month, brought in a new assistant GM, and are still looking for another one. Scouting and development are so important during a rebuild, so I think providing more resources to both Dorion and their prospects will have a bigger return on investment than any free agent signing they could possibly make.

Is it really advisable to have Brady Tkachuk spend the season in Ottawa?

I think it is. He isn’t eligible for the AHL so the Sens would have to send him back to the OHL. I don’t think he would progress much in his development there because it wouldn’t be challenging enough. As an 18 year-old he was 4th in points and 1st in shots on his Division 1 NCAA team, so playing in the OHL as a 192 pound 19 year-old against teeenagers would be nothing for him. Since he’s already so physically mature and defensively responsible I think the NHL would be the best option for him.

Is the only endgame here somehow getting Eugene Melnyk to sell the team? Is that in any way feasible?

The Sens just completed a $135M refinancing over the summer, so I don’t think there will be a sale this season. With something like 4,000 season ticket holders, an angry fanbase, zero optimism surrounding the team and a downtown arena still years away (the Sens play 25km from downtown) I really don’t see things getting better anytime soon.
Having a low payroll will make it hard for them to be anything better than a bubble team, but it’s not insurmountable. The Sens have a lot of good prospects coming through the pipeline, so taking advantage of their cheap ELCs and first RFA contracts will be key over the next few years. But they absolutely need to find a way to move Bobby Ryan’s contract and have to trade Ceci at the deadline.

 

 

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