The offseason has already brought numerous substantial changes to the Ottawa Senators organization, but now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded, it's about to get even busier. In today's Nuggets, we run down the important dates and note the key considerations to keep in mind if you're a Sens fan wondering what the team will do.
[Note before we begin: We had a weekly question on what makes a successful offseason for the Ottawa Senators earlier that acts as a good primer for this piece. In addition, Rob at Bonk's Mullet had a funnier overview of the key offseason priorities]
June 15 - First Buy-Out Period Begins
- Coming into 2016, this was going to be a really interesting date. Jared Cowen and Colin Greening, both signed to monstrous deals (for this franchise) back in 2013, were key names that the Sens would've had to make a decision on. However, in Bryan Murray's last significant move as General Manager, both were shipped away to Toronto for Dion Phaneuf in a deal that STILL baffles me. Greening looks like he'll be staying with the Leafs for at least one more season, whereas Cowen cleared waivers and is eligible to be bought out.
- There's no real bonafide buyout options for the Sens, unless they really wanted to go big and buyout Bobby Ryan from his massive $7.25M/yr deal that goes until 2022. The winger put up 56 points in 81 games last season despite poor possession numbers, and is not a candidate as of yet. There is injury worry with Clarke MacArthur, but given the dialogue around him I think the team expects him to be healthy for the start of the 2016-17 season. On defence, don't expect Phaneuf or fan favourite Marc Methot to be going anywhere. I'd personally consider buying out Mark Borowiecki but highly doubt that it happens.
- If you're interested in the full buyout rules, you can read our refresher on the topic from last year.
- Well aren't these important days. In addition to their 6 picks, the Senators may be looking to acquire something for right-winger Alex Chiasson or defencemen Patrick Wiercioch. Not to scare anyone, but if the negotiations aren't going well with Mike Hoffman or Cody Ceci, I wouldn't be surprised to see them moved here instead of later on post-free agency when most teams have their rosters set already.
- Tune in at 7pm EST (4pm Pacific) to watch the first round on Friday, June 24th. Rounds 2-7 will happen on Saturday. Last year, the team made three trades: one on Day 1 (Robin Lehner + David Legwand to BUF for the 21st overall pick) and two on Day 2 (42nd overall and a 2016 3rd round pick to New Jersey for the 36th overall pick; defenceman Eric Gryba to Edmonton for a 2015 4th round pick and forward Travis Ewanyk)
- The Sens didn't sign an NHL-quality UFA last year, but did sign Clarke MacArthur and David Legwand in free agency when this period existed previously. I don't know whether they flew them in for pre-interviews or not, but both deals happened rather quickly in free agency so it's a possibility.
- Other than the draft and free agency, this day is going to say the most about the players in the organization for 2016-17. Besides Mike Hoffman and Cody Ceci, the Senators have several restricted free agents (RFAs) that require qualifying offers if they wish to stay with the Senators organization. A quick note for any new fans that RFAs are under team control until they reach Unrestricted Free Agency status, either through an age or games played limit, or if they are not offered qualifying offers. Names include: Matt Puempel, Ryan Dzingel, Alex Chiasson, Buddy Robinson, Casey Bailey, Travis Ewanyk, Max McCormick; Fredrik Claesson, Patrick Wiercioch, Jerome Leduc, Troy Rutkowski)
- If a player isn't qualified by this point, they become a UFA. If a player is qualified but they reject the offer, they're still an RFA under team control. They can choose to sit out until they get a better contract offer.
- I didn't know this existed until now. Although teams are generally wary of making offer sheets to the RFAs of other teams, this is Pierre Dorion's first year at the helm and perhaps he's an aggressive GM. General Fanager has a good list of RFAs here.
- You can read our refresher on offer sheets from last year if you want the full details on the process
- The setting of the salary cap ceiling and floor hasn't impacted the Senators in recent years and it looks to be much of the same this year. As of right now, General Fanager is estimating the cap ceiling to be $71.4M and the floor to be $52.8M. With the Sens clocking in with a team cap hit of ~$53.9M, they don't have to worry about the floor.
- The Sens won't likely come close to the ceiling even after signing Hoffman, Ceci, and most potential UFAs. In fact, they may even be in a position to acquire a bad contract from a cap strapped team if draft picks or prospects are part of the package. Pittsburgh, LA, Chicago, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay would all fall under the category of "cap crunched teams" for various reasons, and there's always Detroit trying to ship away Pavel Datsyuk's mammoth cap hit before the draft.
- Affectionately titled Free Agent Frenzy, July 1 is a massive day for NHL clubs. Although most of the news for the period from July 1 - 5 generally revolves around UFA signings in particular, it's important to note the RFA and QO implications of this day.
- For players who the Sens may target in free agency, check out these two pieces I wrote on the defencemen and right-wingers available. These two areas of need were identified after looking at the Sens organizational depth chart, found here.
- By our estimation, all of the Sens RFAs except Matt Puempel and Travis Ewanyk, are arbitration eligible.
- This July 5th deadline for offer sheets is ONLY for players being taken to team-elected arbitration. If no arbitration is involved, they can happen after then. The deadline for team-elected salary arbitration notification is the next day, July 6, at 5:00 p.m. EST
- Remember, if a player is qualified but rejects the offer, they're still under team control and can choose to sit-out until they receive a better offer.
- Any potential RFA cases (like Hoffman and Chiasson's last year) will occur during these dates, with the final day for the neutral arbitrator to issue a ruling on the case being August 6.
- Clubs have 48 hours after their LAST salary arbitration award/settlement to exercise their right to walk-away from the player who elected salary arbitration.
- Note that there IS a second buy-out period for clubs with salary arbitration cases that begins on the third day after the team's last salary arbitration award/settlement and expires 48 hours later, but it's rarely used.
- Let's start our link series off with all of our draft coverage. Trevor and I profiled five forwards and five defencemen that may be available at 12th overall, while Ross wrote a profile on Mikhail Sergachyev as our pick in SBN's Annual Mock Draft. [Silver Seven - Forwards, Defencemen, Sergachyev, SBN Mock Draft]
- The last two episodes of the Battle of Ontario Podcast have been wonderful by including interviews from coaches, scouting services, and former players, all talking about the draft. Here we'll feature two episodes: Episode 10 with Gus Katsaros from McKeen's Hockey and Episode 12, a giant Draft Preview episode. Enjoy! [Battle of Ontario - 10, 12]
- Pierre Dorion was on the radio yesterday, and is confident about getting a great player at the #12 position. Callum has the transcript and TSN/Ottawa Citizen has the coverage. [Silver Seven, TSN, Ottawa Citizen]
- Over at Eye on the Sens, Peter reviewed some of the most popular draft guides put out by independent scouting services. [Eye on the Sens]
- Now that the draft is out of the way, let's get to the news. The Sens have a new assistant coach, Rob Cookson! [Senators, Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen, TSN1200 audio interview]
- They also have a new goalie coach, Pierre Groulx! [Senators, Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- Lastly, they've also re-organized their Hockey Operations department. They've re-signed Daniel Alfredsson for another year as a catch-all senior advisor while he figures out the next step in his career. They've also relocated former long-time video coach Tim Pattyson to oversee analytical and statistical research and development while hiring Kristopher Young (formerly of the Hamilton Bulldogs) to replace him. [Senators - Daniel Alfredsson, Kristopher Young, 6th Sens - Alfredsson, Kristopher Young, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- The organization has also hired a new (?) head coach for Binghamton, bringing Kurt Kleinendorst back into the fold. [Senators, Silver Seven, 6th Sens, SensChirp, Eye on the Sens, Ottawa Citizen]
- After the hiring of Coach K, Randy Lee was on TSN1200. As always, Nichols has the transcript. [6th Sens]
- The fun part of all of this is that it happened while Jeff was reminiscing about the BSens Calder Cup win. [Silver Seven]
- No real update on the contract front, other than the team is exploring both short and long-term deals with Cody Ceci. My vote is a 2 year deal. [SensChirp]
- Erik Karlsson caused a stir by inviting members of the media to view one of his offseason workouts. Ross talked about how, by doing this, Karlsson changed the narrative from last offseason. [Silver Seven, Ottawa Citizen]
- In lieu of an NCC board meeting this week to reveal the status of the LeBreton Flats negotiations, Elliotte Friedman rattled the fanbase by linking the Senators to relocation. Nichols and Chirp reacted to the news. [Sportsnet, 6th Sens - NCC meeting, Friedman, SensChirp]
- Chirp and Peter run through a bunch of Sens tidbits, including: the draft combine, free agency, Dave Cameron's future, and the transfer of prospect Robert Baillargeon from Boston University to Arizona State (where he joins fellow Sens prospect Joey Daccord) [SensChirp, Eye on the Sens]
- An older piece, but one that I don't want to miss: Trevor took a look at Curtis Lazar's comparables and the result wasn't pretty. Lazar is still a young player and we all know he was likely rushed into the league prematurely for whatever reason. Hopefully he regains his stride as the team's likely 4th line centre this coming season. [Silver Seven]
- A pair of pieces looking at two free agency targets. First, a Chirp reader wonders if PA Parenteau would be a fit on the Senators third-line while Nichols dreams about Brian Campbell shoring up the Senators defence corps. [SensChirp, 6th Sens]
- Internally, the Senators have to make a decision on where they see Zack Smith fitting in on their roster. Is he a centre? Is he a winger? Is he the real deal? Trevor ponders some of those questions for us. [Silver Seven]
- Brad has a piece on how an unexpected no movement clause may cause some problems for the Sens in next year's expansion draft. Speaking of the draft, Ross used General Fanager's tool to select a potential team for Las Vegas. [Silver Seven - NMC, Mock Expansion Draft]
- To end this long section of Sens links, read this wonderful piece by Wayne Scanlan on the legacy of Chris Phillips and Daniel Alfredsson. [Ottawa Citizen]
- From Sens East to Sens West, our condolences to the San Jose Sharks. [Silver Seven]
- Three Stanley Cup-ish pieces. The first, from Greg Wyshynski on Peter DeBoer's laidback approach in coaching the Sharks. The second, an older piece from Michael Farber on Sidney Crosby's mentality. The third, from Cat Silverman on how the Boston Bruins won the Cup without using analytics. [Yahoo! Sports, Sports Illustrated, Today's Slapshot]
- Since defence always seems like an issue for the Senators, I always keep my eye out for great pieces that delve into analysis of the position. Alison Lukan's piece on Seth Jones and Ryan Murray's growth into T4 defenders counts as one. [Blue Jackets]
- Back in April, Simon Fraser University hosted the Vancouver Hockey Analytics conference. Recordings can now be found online! [SFU]
- A radical idea to increase offence: eliminating offensive zone faceoffs. Draglikepull walks you through it. [Pension Plan Puppets]
- A non-NHL piece, but one that's really good: on Steph Curry's shot. [Sports Illustrated]