Perhaps it’s what he has to say to get the Senators fan base to believe the team is headed in the right direction, but Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is pretty optimistic about where his team is at today. While everyone has prepared themselves for a rebuild that will last a bit longer than one offseason, Melynk believes the team is already through the rough stuff and are legitimate contenders now.
As per the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, he’s quoting comments from the often controversial Melnyk that the Senators have already gone through their difficult rebuild and that “the pieces are in place. Melnyk notes:
“We have turned the corner. We just now need to execute on what we have. This is the team, with what we have right now, I believe can win a Stanley Cup already, and that’s without adding some veterans, which we plan to do.
Everyone knows Melnyk is a bit different. There are long-standing desires by the fanbase to move him out as the owner and that the Senators success will come, often despite his inadvertent efforts to be the most disrespected boss in the NHL. His comments are often misconstrued and perhaps this is another instance where people are reading too literally between the lines?
Pretty much every insider has the Senators placing dead last in an all-Canadian Division. Not Melynk. He’s suggesting his team is not only no longer a lottery club, but can win it all. How baffling. Even stranger, he’s so confident, he’s stated the team will not be sellers at this year’s trade deadline.
“We’ll be a team that’s active at the trade deadline and not as sellers, but as buyers, just like we used to be. If you look at my track record on spending on players, we were already right up there. We were never at the top, but we were always right up there or around the center. Now, we’re going to stay somewhere in the center, depending on where it’s at. Our budgets are always somewhere around $70 million, which is in the center.”
Any Chance Melnyk Is Right?
Credit should go out to general manager Pierre Dorion who has done some great things with a heap of draft picks, smart trades, and made some astute signings in free agency — the Senators acquired goalie Matt Murray, forwards Evgenii Dadonov and Alex Galchenyuk, and defenseman Erik Gudbranson this offseason. And, there’s still time so he could do more. All that said, even Dorion has to know his team has a long way to go.
No doubt the Senators should be an improved hockey club. But, are they improved enough to make the playoffs? The franchise might want to worry about that first, before claiming they are Cup contenders.
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