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Five Thoughts For Friday

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Trade speculation, Dorion’s comments, and more!

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a particularly grim Five Thoughts this week, as the Sens came off their bye week only to lose a particularly embarrassing game to the St. Louis Blues.

Who’s on the trading block?

Any time a team is struggling, rumours start flying about players supposedly being on the trading block. The Sens were understandably involved in many such rumours during their bye week, even though they didn’t actually end up making any trades.

First, we heard that the team was supposedly shopping Mike Hoffman, which is incredibly dumb since Ottawa needs him very badly and his contract is actually pretty good. He’s part of this team’s core and whoever the Sens get in return for him will almost certainly not be as good as he is. I’ve heard rumours that he might be a bit of a problem in the room, and honestly that’s the only reason for wanting to trade him that makes any sort of sense to me. I still don’t think Dorion should do it.

Then, just two nights ago we all assumed that Pageau was involved in a trade, because he left practice. Turns out, he left because of an injury, but I still wouldn’t be surprised if he was on the trading block. Logically, it does make sense to ship him out, especially if the return is good. That said, I am very emotionally attached to Pageau and I would be devastated if he left, even if it made the team better.

There have also been a few rumours circulating that the Sens may have heard offers on Dion Phaneuf. That’s certainly an intriguing prospect, considering what a big problem his contract is, but I do hope Dorion can manage to find some help on defense if this happens.

What kind of player do we need?

Looking at the way this roster has been performing this season, I’d say… every kind?

That’s not entirely true. I don’t think the Sens need another top-six forward. I do think they need to upgrade their bottom six, however, because they have a lot of guys playing there who shouldn’t even be in the NHL. That said, they might be able to fill a few of those spots internally by playing some of their younger players.

They also desperately need help on defense. Nobody aside from Karlsson and Chabot has been any good this season, and it’s incredibly sad that Johnny Oduya is playing on the top pairing with Karlsson.

And of course, they really need better goaltending. Anderson and Condon have both been awful this year.

So basically, if you’re an NHL team and you have players that are not bad, please consider calling Pierre Dorion as he could use them.

Then again, should we be looking to improve the team in the short term? Or should we trading our mediocre players away for picks and letting the young guys play instead? Wait, that might make the team better anyway.

Dorion’s comments

Pierre Dorion spoke to the media yesterday, and judging by the reaction on Twitter, fans were not exactly impressed.

He spent most of the 10 minutes (which you can find on the Senators website) talking about the importance of being realistic, planning for the future, and not making panic moves. He also turned around and said that he thinks this team can still make the playoffs, and I sincerely hope that was just a PR move and he doesn’t actually believe it. Realistically, this team is almost certainly going to miss the playoffs, and it is Dorion’s job as General Manager to plan accordingly. He should be looking toward the future, not trying to make his team better in the short term during a season that’s already a lost cause.

That comment wasn’t what got people riled up, though. When asked about the rumours surrounding Erik Karlsson possibly not re-signing and maybe getting traded, he decided to make things even worse than they already were.

Pro tip for any aspiring NHL GMs out there: when someone asks you if you plan on re-signing the best player in your franchise’s history, who also happens to be arguably the best defenseman in the NHL, and who happens to be in his prime, the answer is “yes.” Nothing else.

Is that the answer Dorion gave? Not exactly.

In truth, I don’t think Dorion is actually planning on trading Karlsson. I think he just said too much. Obviously, any GM would listen to a “mind-blowing deal” on any of their players. Still, this is an incredibly dumb thing to say and it is absolutely not the way to reassure a fanbase that’s already pretty on-edge.

How much faith do you have in this management group?

For me, personally, the answer to that question is… pretty much none.

I’ve said this several times on Twitter, but I will reiterate it here: I don’t think this team can win with an owner who refuses to spend money on it. I do not trust a management group that has been “stripped to the bone,” as Melnyk so eloquently put it, to make good decisions. I don’t think Pierre Dorion is a bad GM, but the fact that he is apparently acting as a scout right now shows how thin this front office is.

I also think I speak for a lot of Sens fans when I say that I’m really tired of cheering for a team that has to consider budget in every roster decision. You can’t win if you need all your stars to be on bargain contracts. Your main reason for entertaining the possibility of trading one of your best forwards on one of your most team friendly contracts should not be “we need to shed salary.”

This is why I’m more down on this team right now than I ever have been. I don’t think there are any trades that would really help. I don’t think firing the coach or the GM is what this team needs either. Until Melnyk sells, I simply can’t see this team finding long-term success.

Why are you still watching?

That wasn’t a rhetorical question. I’m genuinely curious. This team is not going anywhere. It’s not even entertaining to watch these days. Are you holding out hope for a comeback? Watching for a few players you still like? I’ve asked myself this question a lot these last few days. Why am I still tuning in to every game if I’m this down on the team? Here are the answers I’ve come up with:

  1. I’m invested in this team and I can’t stop watching no matter how little I care about the result.
  2. I still like a lot of these players and I want to see how they perform individually.
  3. I genuinely enjoy discussing this team on Silver Seven and on Twitter, and… well.. That’s a little hard to do if you’re not watching the games.

My best friend pointed out to me recently that sports are meaningless and that ultimately the only real purpose they serve is that of bringing people together. I guess, in that sense, even the 2017-18 Ottawa Senators are kind of fulfilling their purpose?