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Thursday Think Tank: No POHO Just Yet

May 9, 2019, 2:14 AM ET [18 Comments]
Trevor Shackles
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You can follow me on Twitter @ShackTS

New Thursday Think Tank:

No POHO just yet

So it looks like we might not know who the Senators are hiring in the front office for quite some time now. After making it public that they would be hiring a POHO to help Pierre Dorion, the search to bring someone in has clearly been more difficult than initially anticipated. Almost nobody wants to work for the Senators, and it’s pretty clear. Bruce Garrioch had more to say on that yesterday and even noted that it might not even be a POHO, but a senior advisor instead:

“The Ottawa Senators will play the waiting game in their search for a president of hockey operations, and don’t expect a decision any time soon.
While the organization made changes to the business side of the operation Tuesday, the Senators will wait until after the playoffs are over to search for somebody to act as a sounding board for general manager Pierre Dorion, either in the role as president of hockey operations or as a senior adviser.”

All that says to me is that their search is going horribly wrong, and nobody with the right credentials would be able to fill the role as POHO. Furthermore, it seemed like Eugene Melnyk only wanted to hire a senior advisor for the team anyway (with the NHL pushing for a bigger position), so he might be getting his way. Melnyk also said that their search might not finish until the fall, so we could be talking about this for a while. It’s a sad state of affairs when it’s laughable to think about any well-known executives wanting to work for the Senators.

Keeping his loyal minions

With the front office shakeup that is happening right now in Ottawa, the main moves that happened are simply moving people around, including those who have worked under Melnyk for years---and not just for the Senators. Rather than bringing in fresh faces, it seems to be much of the same old same old. Brian Crombie, the newest CFO, has had quite the past according to Colin Cudmore:

It’s no surprise that Melnyk is willing to help Crombie out here, as he knows that he is one of the few people out there who he can trust. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want an organization filled with people who have had shady business dealings in the past, but that’s what it is looking like right now. There is simply no way this gets fixed under Melnyk, as the only solution for a rotting organization is a new owner and more competent leadership from within.

Sens picking 19th

With the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars both failing to advance to the Conference Finals, Ottawa finally knows exactly where they will be picking in the 2019 draft in the first round: 19th. As I said a few days ago, that’s not a bad spot to be drafting at all considering picks traded for rentals usually end up in the 25th-31st range. Some recent former 19th overall picks include Josh Norris, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Oscar Klefbom, Chris Kreider, and Nick Bjugstad, so Ottawa can still draft a solid player with that pick. There have also been some busts mixed in there as well, but a top-20 pick has a lot of value.

Thomas Chabot went 18th in 2015, so you never know where you will find a great player in the draft.

Duchene’s comments

Matt Duchene spoke to the media yesterday and talked about what his future holds regarding his free agency. I’ve seen various interpretations of his comments, as he certainly sounds willing to stay in Columbus if the circumstances are right and they are willing to sign him, although he wants to explore all of his options. I don’t think we can say for sure either way what he is thinking from this interview, and I doubt he even knows where he will end up. Have a listen for yourselves:

I’d still say there’s a decent chance that he re-signs with Columbus because he wants to win and Jarmo Kekalainen has shown that he is willing to push all the chips in on this window. If Duchene stays they still have a solid foundation with Duchene, Dubois, Jones, Werenski, Atkinson, etc., so if Panarin and Bobrovsky leave it’s not as if they have nothing. It would be a massive boost for the Senators if he is able to re-sign there, which would give them a third first-round pick in 2020.

High praise for Brad Shaw

Although he has not been officially announced as someone that will be interviewed by the Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Shaw has been mentioned as a candidate for the head coaching position in Ottawa. It’s not exactly surprising, but John Tortorella had high praise for his colleague:

Something like that is always good to see, even though we have to take that with a grain of salt because Tortorella is obviously very biased in this situation. Shaw has never had a head coaching position in the NHL besides half a season on Long Island to finish the year, although he has been an assistant coach in the NHL in every season since 2006 except for 2011-12. I can’t say I have much of an opinion on him as a potential head coach, but I think he could be a better option than someone like DJ Smith or Marc Crawford.
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