Yesterday it was revealed that the Ottawa Senators had diminished their scouting staff by two members, and a website update today affirmed that those two members are Justin Murray and Jimmy Blixt. The duo were both part of the Sens’ amateur scouting team, with the regiment now being reduced to nine total members.
Murray has worked for the Sens for five seasons, being hired back in 2013, likely due to being the great-nephew of then-GM Bryan Murray, as well as the son of then-AGM Tim Murray. He was assigned to cover the Ottawa area, likely having a big say in drafting players Kelly Summers, who played junior hockey for the Carleton Place Canadiens.
Blixt was hired by the Sens more recently, starting a month after the 2015 draft to scout players in Sweden. Since his hiring, the team has drafted only one Swede in Jonathan Dahlen, who was later traded to the Canucks for Alex Burrows. An article from HockeySverige.com reveals that he had actually parted from the team back in January, joining the hockey agency AC Hockey, and although it’s possible something may be lost in translation, it appears that this was his personal decision.
There’s been no shortage of front office shakeups for Ottawa over the last few years, and the scouting department has been no exception. Most prominently, former director of amateur scouting Bob Lowes departed to take on a new role with the Vegas Golden Knights. Additionally, four new scouts were added at the end of last summer, hiring Anders Östberg to scout Europe, Bobby Strumm to scout the WHL, as well as Dan Boeser and Todd Stirling to scout the NCAA part-time.
At this time it’s not fully known as to whether both the departures were mutual agreements or a firing from the Sens’ end. Considering the frugal spending tactics of owner Eugene Melnyk, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that this is another move to cut costs. And with the NHL entry draft just under a month away, the news comes at a rather inconvenient time.