In a move whose timing qualified as something of a surprise, the Ottawa Senators announced changes to their front office on Sunday afternoon. Steve Staios, while retaining the role of President of Hockey Operations, was also given the full-time title of General Manager. Ryan Bowness was promoted to Associate GM, and, most interestingly, Dave Poulin was hired as the Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operation. Notably, both Poulin and Bowness will report to Staios; though the Sens continue to build up what had been a bare bones management team, the buck still stops with Staios (and Michael Andlauer).
Ever since Pierre Dorion was relieved of his duties as General Manager on November 1st, fans of the team have been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Rarely would a few days go by without rumours of potential candidates for the role being bandied about.
Ultimately, Staios' search for a GM wasn't really much of a search at all. During his press availability yesterday afternoon, Staios suggested that while some outside options were considered, nothing ever became serious enough to warrant a formal interview:
Thus there are some lingering questions as to how this all went down: the ostensible logic presented for not making any radical moves behind the bench, or changes to the roster, while the season was seemingly slipping away was to let a new General Manager set their own course. Though unpopular with many fans, this always seemed sensible enough to me. The Sens' season has gone about as poorly as could be imagined, but this is still a (mostly) young, promising team. Best to let the folks that you expect to lead the organization for the foreseeable future be firmly ensconced in their roles before effectuating any kind of overhaul.
Taken at face value, the comments from the news conference would lead one to believe that Bowness is the eventual heir to the GM title, but that Staios (and Andlauer) felt that he needed a bit more seasoning before stepping into the big job. If the plan is to make Bowness the GM within say the next 18-24 months, then it doesn't really make much sense to bring in an outside candidate.
There's also a second option that, while the heads of the franchise think highly of Bowness, there were other folks out there that they fancied for the role that they simply were not permitted to interview.