In the eyes of their general manager Pierre Dorion, it is still too early to define the Ottawa Senators as a seller or buyer club, but he wants to set a guideline in the next two weeks.
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Ottawa is in an awkward spot in the standings as the team is seven points away from a playoff spot ahead of Thursday’s National Hockey League (NHL) games.
So the Senators have to open the machine in the last 29 games if they want to attend the Spring Ball. They’re already having a good time with seven wins in their last 10 games, which certainly complicates Dorion’s task given the close of trading.
He’s giving himself until the March 2 game against Rangers in New York to come up with an action plan.
“Our goal this season is to play meaningful games,” he told a news conference on Thursday. We’re here, we’re playing meaningful games. Are we sellers or buyers? Let’s see where the next seven days take us.”
“We could be long in one position and short in another. There are multiple balls in play.
Some will stay
Regardless of the plan he chooses, Dorion has nonetheless spoken out about the future of certain players. So forward Alex DeBrincat is going nowhere. “Not a chance,” he said.
The former Chicago Blackhawks will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Dorion had made a nice trade last summer, pulling the sniper out of the Illinois team in exchange for three draft picks, including one in the first round.
DeBrincat is the Sens’ fourth-best scorer and goalscorer with 44 points, including 18 goals, in 53 games. He has a salary of $6.4 million.
“He was very good,” Dorion said of him. You know, people forget. After a trade there is an adjustment period. And Alex has played with different centers all season. He works hard and is talented. Overall we are very happy with his game.”
According to Dorion, veterans Derick Brassard and Travis Hamonic will also stay with the Ottawa club. The Quebec forward is just seven games away from 1,000 in the NHL.
He pointed out that he would definitely add a full-back to his defensive brigade and assured that despite an ongoing sales process, he had all the leeway from a financial point of view.
The Senators return to action Friday when they host the Blackhawks.