Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion held his season-ending news conference on Sunday, outlining his off-season plans to improve the club for the upcoming season. Hovering over those intentions, however, is uncertainty over who will fill the void left by the March death of team owner Eugene Melnyk.
The Ottawa SunBruce Garrioch’s reported that Dorion has been reporting to a three-person board that includes Melnyk’s former business partner, Lawrence Zeifman, and John Miszuk, the club’s managing director. The Senators general manager indicated that he has been doing it for several years and anticipates that the structure will not change any time soon.
However, questions remain over who will eventually take ownership of the club. Shortly after Melnyk’s death, Postmedia’s Michael Traikos reported that potential suitors were vying to express interest in buying the franchise.
Traikos believed that some, such as media giant Quebecor, would want to relocate the franchise. Others prefer to keep the team in Ottawa. An informed source claims that John Ruddy, head of the Trinity Development Group, is the darling of the city of Ottawa and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Ruddy and Melnyk had formed a partnership exploring the possibility of building a new arena complex on LeBreton Flats. That effort ultimately failed when Melnyk sued Ruddy for “an egregious conflict of interest on Trinity’s part.”
Meanwhile, Dorion gets on with his off-season projects. He indicated that the club will increase its salary-cap budget for 2022-23, but will not spend up to the cap of $82.5 million. Restricted free agents Joshua Norris and Alex Formenton require new contracts.
Dorion would also like to add a veteran player or two to bolster his lineup. He hasn’t ruled out buying their 2022 first-round pick unless they win the next draft lottery.