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Thursday Links, News, and Notes

Colin White contract, DJ Smith speaks, Bill Guerin named Minnesota GM and more!

Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres

You can feel the season getting ever closer as we creep towards the end of August. This week, we’ve got some real news and links to go through:

  • As you may have heard, the Ottawa Senators signed Colin White to a 6 year deal with an AAV of $4.75M. Wayne Scanlan had a write-up at Sportsnet that included an interesting quote from Pierre Dorion:

In a text message, Pierre Dorion expressed his excitement over the signing, combined with the new culture under incoming head coach D.J. Smith.

”I think you will see a big difference in attitude, and how we play this year,” Dorion said.

Dorion also led us to believe that the issues in the locker room had been resolved at the outset of last season after Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson were traded, so I’m not going to put much credence in the culture talk but I am interested to see what style of play D.J Smith will be implementing with this team. The Sens are not going to be winning many games this year, though how they play could tell us a lot about where the next few seasons are going.

  • Speaking of DJ Smith, he made an appearance on TSN1200 yesterday morning to talk Sens hockey. It’s a relatively short chat, but Smith did have some interesting things to say about the role that the veterans on the team would play in terms of leadership. Smith’s got a reputation as a player’s coach and is also clearly a bit of an old-school guy as well. It will be interesting to see how he balances the organization’s goal of developing all the youngsters while still trying to keep the team competitive. I’m certain Dorion has given Smith some sort of assurances that Smith’his job security doesn’t depend on wins and losses this year, but if the Sens win fewer games than last year’s catastrophic showing anything is possible.
  • Bill Guerin was announced as the new GM of the Minnesota Wild and will replace the recently fired Paul Fenton. Guerin had been the Assistant GM for the Pittsburgh Penguins for the last five years. Guerin beat out a large field that included Ron Hextall and Scott Mellanby, and he takes his place as yet another former NHLer turned executive. With Guerin taking over from Fenton, there are now 19 former players (though even several of the 12, like Kevin Cheveldayoff, were drafted and played minor league hockey). Is being an ex-player an advantage in a GM role? There is certainly something to be said for having the experience of playing at the highest level but this does nothing to dispel the notion that the upper echelons of hockey remain an old boys’ club.
  • Lastly, NHL.com is running an off-season feature with a short preview video for each of the league’s 31 teams. Yesterday was Ottawa’s turn in the spotlight. E.J Hradek and Dan Rosen weren’t exactly optimistic in their views of the team’s prospects for winning too many games but did have some praise for DJ Smith.