The Ottawa Senators had a busy Friday in the front office, with the signing of general manager Pierre Dorion to a three-year contract extension and the departure of president and CEO Tom Anselmi marking the day.
“Having come within one goal of last season’s Stanley Cup Final, we were hopeful entering this season,” team owner Eugene Melnyk said. “Obviously our results have challenged those expectations. What remains unchanged is the dedication that goes into evaluating every aspect of this organization.”
This season has been one of tumult off and on the ice for the Senators, who’ve dealt with questions and concerns regarding just about every area of the organization.
The club currently sits with a 19-25-9 record, good for 47 points and seventh in the Atlantic Division.
The Dorion signing is a clear vote of confidence for the GM and that may not sit well with some, but changes are expected to come in short order on the ice. That means the Senators could be busy come trade deadline day.
Anselmi leaves after just over a year with the organization. He was brought in to replace one of the franchise’s founders, Cyril Leeder, and was instrumental in helping secure completion of the LeBreton Flats land deal. Things haven’t exactly advanced further in the meantime, however.
Anselmi spent 17 years with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment prior to joining the Senators. He oversaw Toronto’s move from Maple Leaf Gardens to the Air Canada Centre and many assumed that he would help Ottawa move to new digs, a transition that Melnyk considers “critical” to the success of the franchise.
But with Anselmi out, who knows what comes next.
At least Senators fans have some indication that change is coming with respect to the on-ice product, at least in the form of a return to the basics. Whether or not that leads to a full rebuild remains to be seen, but something sure seems to be in the works.
“Today’s announcement reflects a renewed commitment to scouting, drafting and development,” Melnyk said. “It may require changes to our lineup. Rest assured, we will only tolerate pain with an end game in mind: building an organization that wins — at all levels — year in and year out.”