You’ve got me on back-to-back Fridays, I know, I’m sorry. Five thoughts for this week!
Pierre McGuire was fired on Monday just 10 months after being hired by Eugene Melnyk:
It was another strange and very short-lived front office tenure in the Ottawa Senators organization. McGuire’s official position was Vice President of Player Development, but I don’t think anyone actually knows what he did and what moves he had an influence on (if any). We can speculate, but the truth is we really have no idea. What’s fascinating is that the man who hadn’t worked in the NHL since 1996 seemed like he could legitimately (and frighteningly) be the next GM of the Senators, which would have most likely brought disastrous results.
McGuire seemed more like a Melnyk hire, so it makes sense that Dorion would want him out in order to have a bit more job security. Or the two Pierre’s just couldn’t see eye-to-eye, which is plausible as well. Considering McGuire’s past, I was never a big fan of the hire, although good for him for getting a 3-year contract and only having to work for 10 months. Now I’m sure we’ll get to hear him a ton on ESPN between NHL benches.
I was reading one of Ian Mendes’ articles the other day and came across these stats:
“From this list above, only Dorion and Garth Snow managed to keep their job after missing the playoffs in five consecutive seasons. Steve Tambellini was fired after five straight non-playoff seasons in Edmonton, while Jim Rutherford was moved to an advisory position and replaced as Carolina general manager by Ron Francis.”
“A handful of general manager-coach combinations have survived missing the playoffs in three straight years together in the salary-cap era. But no duo has managed to survive four seasons together. Somebody inevitably pays the price.”
Garth Snow is literally the only comparable for Dorion here, which isn’t exactly the best news. Meanwhile, only four other GM/coach combinations have missed the playoffs three seasons in a row (Burke/Wilson, Maloney/Tippett, Francis/Peters, Yzerman/Blashill), but as Ian says, four seasons in a row is unprecedented. In case you’ve forgotten, the 2022-23 season will be Smith’s fourth in Ottawa. One of them might be able to survive another playoff-less season, but something’s got to give if they aren’t playing more than 82 games.
That is a tall task, but the Senators have put themselves in this situation by not having enough good veterans on the team. We’ll see if they can actually right the ship.
Who to pick
Welp...the Montreal Canadiens will be picking 1st overall in the 2022 Draft. They’ll end up with centre Shane Wright, which is massive for a team that plummeted to last place. Ottawa once again did not move up in the lottery, meaning they will pick 7th (unless they decide to trade it). The options at 7 are pretty wide open, with centres like Matthew Savoie, Conor Geekie, Brad Lambert, and Frank Nazar potentially available, plus wingers like Joakim Kemell, Jonathan Lekkerimaki, and Danila Yurov, and defensemen like David Jiricek, Denton Mateychuk, Kevin Korchinski, Pavel Mintyukov.
I don’t expect Ottawa to go with the consensus pick because they almost never do, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. What I’m saying is, don’t get too attached to one player at 7th overall because it’ll probably be someone you didn’t expect. Hopefully they know a lot more than the rest of the scouts do though.
Tough luck for Belleville
The Belleville’s Senators loss was a week ago now, but I still wanted to touch on their brief playoff appearance since it came after last week’s “Five Thoughts.” It was quite a heart-breaking and short series for the BSens, as they lost both games 4-3 in overtime. The first round is only a best-of-3 play-in round, so their playoff hopes were essentially over before they even started. What makes it sting even more is that the winning goalie for the Rochester Americans was Aaron Dell...the same goalie who took Drake Batherson out this year.
Belleville was even up 3-0 in game 1 but blew the lead in the 3rd period in brutal fashion. Realistically, going on a run or even winning the Calder Cup doesn’t mean that much, but it’s always good to have your prospects experience some winning. It’s too bad that they couldn’t get a win, especially because if they went further along, it would’ve been fun to follow along. Instead, their season finished 51 hours after game 1 began.
The Leafs are so close
It really is amazing. The Toronto Maple Leafs will have to play in game 7 tomorrow because they have now lost nine straight playoff games in which they have a chance to clinch a series:
Leafs in potential series clinching games since 2013— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 13, 2022
Goals For 20
Goals Against 38
Power Play 10.5% (0 PPG in last 7)
Penalty Kill 58.8%
It’s incredible how many times they have failed to get the job done, although they have one more chance tomorrow at home against Tampa Bay. I feel like they have to slay the dragon at some point, which I why I actually predicted them to win this series. Obviously I don’t want that to happen, but I’m fascinated to watch the game. Cheering against a team certainly isn’t the same as cheering for your team, but the Leafs sure have made it fun over the years.
I wonder what will happen in the organization if they fail so early on yet again.