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Ottawa Senators undergo changes to staff

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The long-awaited hires and promotions will affect the scouting and medical departments

2017 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After watching the staff of the Ottawa Senators get smaller and smaller over the last year, the team has finally announced some new hires and promotions that will affect the scouting and medical departments. The scouting in particular is a big boost, considering the Sens had the one of the smallest departments in the league with the departures of Bob Lowes (Vegas) and Vaclav Burda (Edmonton).

The Changes

Mikko Ruutu - Promoted to chief European scout
The middle brother of the more famous Jarkko and Tuomo, Ruutu has been with the Senators as a European scout since 2004. This fills the hole that was left by the departure of Vaclav Burda.

Anders Östberg - Hired as European amateur scout
Filling the hole of Mikko Ruutu’s promotion, Östberg previously served as the director of European scouting for Örebro HK of the SHL, and also has experience working with the St. Louis Blues from 2011 to 2014. Örebro will be the team next year of Sens prospect Filip Ahl, so maybe there was a connection previously involved. The move was somehow found out earlier by EliteProspects.com, so it’s definitely a possibility.

Although Ruutu and Östberg will be based out of specific cities (Helsinki and Stockholm respectively), they will both be responsible for covering numerous areas throughout Europe.

Bobby Strumm - Hired as amateur scout (WHL)
Strumm has spent the last four seasons as a scout for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, in which time they have drafted NHL draftees Skylar McKenzie (Winnipeg), Brendan De Jong (Carolina), Kieffer Bellows (NYI) and Cody Glass (Vegas).

Dan Boeser - Hired as part-time scout (U.S. Midwest)
A cousin to top Canucks prospect Brock Boeser, Dan played as a forward until 2009, then took up coaching in 2012 in the USHS (United States High School).

Todd Stirling - Hired as part-time scout (U.S. Northeast)
Stirling served as the head coach for the Boston Jr. Bandits of the EHL from 2011 to 2016, winning coach of the year in 2015-16. Him and Boeser will be useful as scouts for the USHL, as 33 players were chosen from the league in the 2017 draft alone.

Gerry Townend - Promoted to director of sports medicine
Creating a new position in the Senators staff, Townend was previously the team’s head athletic therapist, a position he’s held for fourteen years. He’ll be managing the health of players at all levels, from NHL to prospects.

Domenic Nicoletta - Promoted to head athletic therapist
Filling Townend’s role, Nicoletta will primarily be focused on assessing and treating NHL players.

Jean-Sebastian Hartnell - Hired as assistant athletic therapist
Hartnell’s worked as the athletic therapist for Canada’s senior indoor men’s volleyball team, the same group that qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Overall, the hires and promotions put to rest any unease that may have been had from all the recent departures. The four new scouts should provide a boost at the draft, while the increased medical staff should also provide great value.

As the team’s payroll for the players is at the highest, it’s good to see Eugene Melnyk looking at places of need and opening the wallet accordingly.