Pierre Dorion certainly has heard it all at this point. Managing one of the most horrific managerial dumpster fires in recent memory is not exactly a pleasant situation for him. The Ottawa Senators are on pace to finish the 2018-19 season with a measly .371 points percentage, which is still only their 5th lowest points percentage total in franchise history. Superstar-like play by Matt Duchene and Mark Stone carried them so far this year, but with them out-of-town after the Trade Deadline, there’s seemingly no cornerstone left in Ottawa. Here’s why that’s a good thing.
Pierre Dorion’s trades to bolster the Ottawa Senators
The Turris and Hoffman trades
(Trade info from CapFriendly)
There’s no way to spin it. The Duchene gamble was one that absolutely needed to work out and very much did not for Pierre Dorion. They pay for it with their first round pick this year, one that could easily be 1st or 2nd overall. Missing out on the talent that will be Jack Hughes or Kappo Kaako is a huge blow to a squandering organization. Losing a 30-goal scorer in Hoffman in the process doesn’t help the cause, either.
A draft pick ratio of giving up three to receiving one are not the numbers you want to see from a rebuilding team. A decent prospect in Bowers was given up here too, as Pierre Dorion can only watch as the Colorado Avalanche reap the rewards of his past mistakes. Boedker is a serviceable player but is overpaid and not a cornerstone veteran that a rebuilder would be looking for.
However, these shortcomings have been able to set up the Sens for a brighter future than was possible two years ago. A net loss like this to an already fledgling organization would expectedly be devastating, and it was. Though Dorion has now found new life and may have saved his team and his job in the process.
Trades since the Karlsson deal
OTT acquires (combined): Dylan DeMelo, Chris Tierney, Rudolfs Balcers, Josh Norris, 2020 1st (SJS), cond. 2021 2nd (SJS), 2019 2nd (FLA), n/a 1st (SJS), 2020 6th (STL), Stefan Elliott, Tobias Lindberg, Darren Archibald, Anders Nilsson, Morgan Klimchuk, Cody Goloubef, J.C. Beaudin, Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, 2019 cond. 1st (CBJ), 2020 cond. 1st (CBJ), Anthony Duclair, 2020 2nd (CBJ), 2021 1st (CBJ), Brian Gibbons, Oscar Lindberg, Erik Brannstrom, 2020 2nd (DAL)
OTT gives up (combined): Erik Karlsson, Francis Perron, Chris Wideman, Ben Sexton, Macoy Erkamps, Mike McKenna, Tom Pyatt, 2019 6th (OTT), Gabriel Gagne, Paul Carey, Max McCormick, Matt Duchene, Julius Bergman, Ryan Dzingel, 2019 7th (CGY), Patrick Sieloff, Mark Stone, Tobias Lindberg
(Trades via CapFriendly)
This shows a summary much more reminiscent of a rebuilding team – and a smart GM, at that. There was no way Dorion was going to “win” the Karlsson deal, but the assets received are considerably better than letting him walk. It’s the same case with the Duchene, Stone, and Dzingel trades. These 3 deadline deals are all arguably even, if not in the Senators’ favour.
The key difference to point out here is the draft pick ratio. 10 received to 2 given up. Out of the 10 received, 9 of them are picks in the top 2 rounds. The 2 picks given up are in the bottom two rounds. This gives Pierre Dorion the opportunity to draft and set up an even younger core to supplement the prospect building blocks he already has.
The known return
The most important player in the “acquires” list is undeniably Erik Brannstrom. In giving up Stone, they have effectively assured themselves a Karlsson replacement in the coming years while retaining Thomas Chabot, who has already shown great flashes of his potential. Defence wins championships, and Ottawa has certainly built the backbone for a scary d-core.
In net, Filip Gustavsson (acquired in the Brassard 3-way deal, not mentioned above) won’t be ready for a couple of years but could be a more than adequate successor to the throne in Ottawa. A stopgap solution will have to do until then. Look for goaltending to decide the Senators’ fate until Gustavsson is ready to step in.
Additionally, Ottawa was able to sell off unneeded roster pieces. Wideman, Pyatt, and Carey got traded to create room and opportunity for the young stars. Up front, names like Brady Tkachuk and Colin White have already made an impact at the NHL level and look to spearhead the Senators resurgence going forward. A secondary core of Logan Brown, Drake Batherson, Filip Chlapik, and newly acquired Vitaly Abramov and Josh Norris look to offer a tantalizing supporting cast for the two established young stars; not to mention the drafted talent with the upcoming plethora of 1st and 2nd round picks Dorion has acquired.
What does this all mean?
Pierre Dorion has seemed to have salvaged his career and his reputation in Ottawa. It’s up to him to watch his young core’s development and finish the admirable cover job he’s started. There’s finally a plan in Ottawa, a light at the end of the tunnel as the cliché goes. It will be an interesting story to watch unfold over the next few years.
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