The biggest news of the week obviously came in the form of the Senators’ hiring of Pierre McGuire. In an exclusive interview given to Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch, owner Eugene Melnyk raved about the team’s new senior vice-president of player development, and made some confident claims about the team’s immediate future.
It’s funny, I don’t think this was something that anyone was expecting. Even Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman - one of hockey’s biggest insiders - told The Wally and Methot Show that he hadn’t even heard rumblings of such a move, showing just how far out of left field it came from.
I admittedly have my reservations about McGuire. He’s been out of the game in a management capacity since the late-90’s, and while his less-than-stellar reputation at the time shouldn’t be held against him, one has to wonder how smoothly the transition will go. This is to say nothing of the 59 year-old’s ongoing verbal battle with the analytics community, raising questions about McGuire’s ability to help an NHL team in 2021.
With that in mind, however, this seems like a role that McGuire could thrive in under the right circumstances. Acting as something of a sounding board for general manager Pierre Dorion, McGuire’s seemingly infinite NHL rolodex, and three decades of experience around the league affords him the opportunity to lend a hand.
Time will tell if it’s the right move for a burgeoning Ottawa group.
Dadon-Off to Seattle?
It’s no secret that forward Evgenii Dadonov’s first season with the Senators was a disappointing one. The 32 year-old struggled to carve out a role on DJ Smith’s squad, and managed just 20 points in 55 games, and seeing his previously torrid powerplay production crash to a standstill.
This, coupled with the Senators owing him $11.5 million in base salary over the next two seasons, has led some to adopt the belief that the team should expose Dadonov in the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft, just five days away.
While it would make a bit of sense from a purely financial perspective, the argument on the hockey side isn’t as strong. Dadonov’s cap hit is only $5 million per over the next two seasons: a figure which won’t strap the Senators in the slightest, even with extensions due to their youngsters.
The Chelyabinsk, Russia native also didn’t see a drop-off in his underlying metrics this season, indicating that the down year was more of an outlier than anything.
All of this is to say that the Senators shouldn’t expose Dadonov purely for the sake of it. He’s likely to bounce back, and the Kraken will almost certainly take that chance if given the opportunity.
Now, if they were to expose him...
Let’s Hear Your Boes-t Offer
Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser is a fascinating case study over the last few seasons. The 24 year-old has dealt with some injury struggles, but has been nothing short of a treat to watch when healthy. With 210 points in 253 NHL games to this point, Boeser has established himself as an upper-tier right winger, perhaps on the cusp of entering the same conversation as the league’s elite.
And yet, for the second offseason in a row, we hear rumours of his impending departure, thanks to the Canucks’ disastrous salary cap management over the course of the previous decade. While the Senators weren’t entirely in a position to take advantage of that in 2020, one could argue that they are in 2021.
Boeser would fit like a glove on this Ottawa team, immediately hopping into the team’s top six, and combining for a lethal one-two punch with Drake Batherson on the right side. The scoring ability he would bring instantly makes the team better, and Dorion should be making a serious press to acquire the player.
If the Senators do expose Dadonov, Boeser would immediately plug the hole on their right side, while replacing the production that Ottawa thought they were getting out of the veteran. Boeser is also due $5.875 million this season, and is an RFA next summer, so the Senators would also maintain contractual control over a player they’d love to keep.
I would give up a lot for Boeser, and a package starting with this year’s 10th overall selection wouldn’t even make me blink. Perhaps something like this year’s first, Vitaly Abramov, and any two of the four second-rounders Ottawa has over the next two years gets it done. I’d make that deal in a heartbeat.
The hockey world came together to mourn the loss of 24 year-old Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Mattis Kivlenieks, after a tragic fireworks accident on the 4th of July.
His friend, and teammate Elvis Merzlikins delivered a heartfelt eulogy at Kivlenieks’ memorial service. I’ll let this one speak for itself:
Elvis Merzlikins shares chilling details of the heroic acts of Matiss Kivlenieks pic.twitter.com/W08tMfJZ1l— TSN (@TSN_Sports) July 16, 2021
(Landes)-kog in the Machine
In another eyebrow-raising story, there is some apparent discontent between the powerhouse Colorado Avalanche, and their captain, Gabriel Landeskog.
Contract talks between the two parties appear to have stalled in recent weeks, and the 28 year-old Landeskog — set to potentially test unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career — is less than pleased about not having an extension lined up with the Avalanche.
The Avalanche captain said he would have liked his contract “to be done eight months ago, 10 months ago.”
“The uncertainty is something I’ve never dealt with,” Landeskog said. “I’ve always known that come September, October, I’m going to pull on that Avs jersey.
“I can’t help but be honest with you that I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s gotten this far and it’s had to come to this point.”
It’s hard to envision Landeskog as a realistic target for the Senators, but if he gets to the free agency period, they have to at least put some feelers out. Swedish captains have historically worked out okay in the capital.