Weekly Question: Can The Sens Really Improve?

Eugene Melnyk May Cast a Doubt Over Sens’ Future Stardom

It has been a somewhat frustrating period for Ottawa Senators fans as they had to deal with the team cutting ties with one of the community’s largest foundations as well as losing a key member of the Sens organization who truly knew how to connect with the fans, Craig Medaglia. Furthermore, a bizarre war started between the Sens owner Eugene Melnyk and the Ottawa Sun which started with what Melnyk calls “false accusations” about the Sens Foundation’s ability to operate and The Organ Project’s $5,000 donation. Melnyk went as far as threatening litigation against the Sun even after they posted an apology and retraction, citing that the damages done to him personally were irreversible. While the original article inspired Graeme Nichols (@6thSens) to start an online campaign that raised over $20,000 to the Trillium Gift of Life Network, it still highlighted how deeply troublesome the Sens ownership and management is, maybe even worse than we keep assuming.

Sens fans looked towards the league for some glimmer of hope but all the NHL could offer was confirmation that Eugene Melnyk was in “good standing” and that there were no issues with him as an owner. While I understand the league is tied in what it can publicly say, the statement seemed to have fuelled an already frustrated fan base that is really at loss with how far Eugene Melnyk will go.

The draft lottery is happening soon and many Sens fans are choosing the pessimistic route when predicting the result. Is it because we feel like the Sens don’t deserve good things? Melnyk and Co. have ruined Daniel Alfredsson’s long standing legacy, they ruined Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone and they continue to ruin the Sens brand in different forms including something as logical as having a charity arm connected to the team. Nobody is sure if Brady Tkachuk’s future is even guaranteed with the team at this point and it seems that the idea of this team becoming a powerhouse constantly lingers on the notion of “as long as Melnyk doesn’t do something regrettable”.

If by some miracle we do get a shot at Alexis Lafrenière; will Melnyk allow the team to grow and become the contender he claimed they would? Or will he fail to sign players like Anthony Duclair and Connor Brown and eventually start making enemies out of Brady Tkachuk and other up and coming talents? Imagine having to deal with RFA arbitration sessions every summer? Does a player like Anthony Duclair even want to stay in Ottawa after seeing the organization’s late and somewhat uninspired response to Black Lives Matter? Will the Sens ever attract worthy free agents?

The question this week is; with the surge of great talent coming to the team this summer and the existing pool of great prospects, we should all be looking forward to the next few years, but can the Sens really overcome the challenges of ownership and become a powerhouse or will Melnyk continue to drive this team into eternal mediocrity?

Can the Sens Become a Good Team Despite Melnyk’s Antics?

Yes; he won’t be here long60
Yes; good on ice performance will cover ownership issues181
No; good teams must have good ownership115
No; Sens will not be able to retain or attract good talent74

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