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Dom Luszczyszyn had a very interesting article at The Athletic yesterday
as he polled fans of every NHL team (over 12,000 people) and got them to rank how confident they are in their own team’s front office, as well as other teams front offices. By doing this, he got a sense of what the public perception was of every NHL team as well as a sense of how the fanbase felt.
It is a fascinating read, and since it is behind a paywall, I won’t give it all away. However, it is worth the read. To my surprise, the Senators didn’t actually rank dead last here...they finished a mighty 30th, one spot ahead of the Minnesota Wild. Every respondent ranked the front offices in terms of roster building, cap management, drafting/developing, trading, free agency, and vision, which ended up giving teams a rating. Here is how the Senators were rated by the public and the fanbase:
Their drafting/developing is definitely their strongest suit, and it’s no surprise to see that reflected in the survey results. At the same time, 26th overall is their best
result, so it’s still not as if it is anywhere close to good. I find it odd that cap management is their next best category, just because Ottawa has had a plethora of overpriced contracts for mediocre players that they end up having to get rid of, although from outsiders perspectives, they just see the lack of spending and think that their cap management is fine.
I think their trading hasn’t necessarily been as bad as 30th overall, but that’s not to say it has been good. If anything, their roster building and vision deserves to be dead last because it is clear that there is absolutely no plan. They haven’t had many horrendous free-agent contracts, but that’s just because Eugene Melnyk avoids spending, so they deserve to be dead last in free agency.
Despite all of the horrible rankings, Ottawa moved up one spot due to a horrendous year for ex-GM Paul Fenton and the Wild. Some of that is recency bias, but at least there is another team to join the pity party. The Senators need to do a lot more to gain back faith from the fanbase though because nothing will change until they start spending big money to keep their star players in Ottawa. A good year for young players and a top-5 pick could change some of that too, so there’s a decent chance this rating will go slightly up in a years time.
I just cannot put all my faith in a front office that refuses to hire more people and refuses to think outside the box when it comes to drafting, developing, trading, free agency, and using data. There are some things they can do well (at times), but Dorion clearly needs more help to surround him, but there is not enough money in the budget to add to the incredibly small staff.
How would you rate these categories in comparison to the public? In comparison to the fanbase? I feel like some will say their drafting/developing should be higher but their extremely low ranking looks correct. We all know that the fanbase is tired about the lack of direction with the franchise, although that’s not all Pierre Dorion’s fault. Nevertheless, it’s a huge reason why nobody can trust the front office, and I’d like to hear what people think about these survey results.