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Stutzle signs for 8 years; Sens announce numerous team initiatives

September 8, 2022, 1:11 AM ET [100 Comments]
Kevin Francis
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The Ottawa Senators continued to lock up their young talent yesterday by signing Tim Stutzle to an 8 year, 66.8M contract extension. Personally, I hope Stutzle outperforms this contract by year four or five of it and then Sens GM Pierre Dorion will look even more brilliant for getting this deal done when he did. Rather than waiting to see if Stutzle has a breakout season which many believe he will due to the upgrade in talent at the forward position, Dorion was very smart in getting this extension done now so it wouldn't cost Ottawa, even more, come next summer. There isn't a Sens fan that would've told you 18 months ago, that the franchise would be in the position they're in today when it comes to locking up their young core!

Sources have told me that the Sens are close to getting a contract extension done with Artem Zub. I reported here a while ago that it would be a four to five year deal in the 5M AAV range. Only Alex Formenton remains unsigned and I truly doubt any contract extension gets announced until the NHL reveals their findings in the World Junior investigation that they said started months ago.

When looking at the Sens' defense, I'm told if Dorion isn't able to make a trade prior to training camp to upgrade the defense, that he will bring in a veteran right-shot defenseman on a PTO. Dorion has hinted strongly at his last two pressers that they will only bring in a player on a PTO that has a legit shot at making the roster. We all know the forward position is as strong as it's ever been and the goaltending situation looks great too, leaving the defense the area where a player could be brought in on a PTO. Many inside the organization are genuinely worried about the defense holding up to start the season. It's no secret that Dorion tried to trade Erik Brannstrom all summer long, which is why it took so long for Ottawa to finally sign him as they were in no rush to do so after seeing how the market played out for him this summer. Let's face it, a one year deal at just under 1M for Brannstrom could've been done two months ago at that number as he didn't have arbitration rights. Naturally, the organization is saying all the right things about Brannstrom heading into training camp to keep what little value he has left on the market but there was no way he was getting much of a raise after last season.

On the business side of things, the Sens announced a few newsworthy decisions. Personally, the announcement of Chris Phillips being brought back to the organization as VP of Business Operations was refreshing to hear as the team tries to correct past mistakes with former players in the organization. Chris Neil is being promoted as well, his new title is VP of Business and Community Development. The other piece of news that I was delighted to hear is that the Ottawa Senators Foundation is coming back to the community. The first event being held in support of the foundation is the Players Golf Tourney, where all Sens players participate prior to the start of training camp with the team's sponsors. It will be held on Tuesday, September 20th. The other date to circle on your calendars is the return of Sens Fanfest to be held Sunday, September 25th. I will post in a blog when the team announces dates and locations for the upcoming Sens Rally Tour at Canadian Stores.

The team announced numerous other initiatives when it comes to theme nights and giveaways. I will write about this closer to the start of the season. The one event that stuck out the most was the viewing party that will take place for the HOF induction of Daniel Alfredsson. On Monday, November 14th, the Sens play host to the NY Islanders and the game will start at 5pm. This will allow the game to end in time for all Sens fans that want to stay at the CTC for a viewing party to watch the induction ceremony on the jumbotron.

Lastly, Anthony Leblanc talked about an increase in team sponsorship and season ticket sales. I wish he would be more upfront with actual numbers though. Former President/CEO's of the team like Cyril Leeder and Roy Mlakar were very transparent with the fanbase in giving out specific numbers on suites/season ticket sales during their tenure. Mlakar would be quick to say, Ottawa is top 5 in suite sales league wide with only six suites available on a game by game basis. Or Leeder would give out season ticket numbers saying how they needed a specific number of full season ticket sales to break even with. In all three of Leblanc's recent interviews either on TSN1200 or at a presser, he has stated the same thing when it comes to corporate sponsorship. Tell the fans how many companies have returned, don't tell us each time when you speak with the media that you just talked to your sponsorship director and that another big company has just signed on, with an announcement to come next week on who it is. Then fans never hear about who these big companies supposedly were the following week as you said you would do. When it comes to season ticket sales, Leblanc stated that they've had a 60% increase from the end of the 2019 season. Chris Stevenson wrote during the 2018-19 season, that the Sens had less than 4,000 season ticket holders according to staff in the front office of the CTC. With Ottawa having just over 3,100 season tickets to end this past season, one has to think the current number stands somewhere in the range of 5100-5400 season ticket holders. It would be nice if the team would just be transparent with the numbers!

Comments, thoughts Sens' fans?!
Thanks for reading.
Kevin
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