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Dorion needs to upgrade the Sens head coaching position

June 9, 2022, 4:20 AM ET [260 Comments]
Kevin Francis
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If you are Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion, how do you not look at upgrading the head coach of your hockey team now?!

With the amount of experienced winning coaches looking for work, the list is quite impressive and who knows if you will have this kind of experience behind the bench looking for work next summer. Plus, no Sens fan wants to hear that the team has no money to spend or waste money on acquisitions when that's all Dorion has done for the few past years!

This team has had no problems paying bonuses or trading for players/signing players for big money over the last few years. Just take a look at two of the most recent players who they have to pay bonus money on July 1, Travis Hamonic and Michael Del Zotto. Neither of which had to occur but Dorion was willing to waste those dollars. Let's not forget, he just paid Pierre McGuire 1 million dollars over the next two years to go away.

How many other CEO's, CFO's or other high salaries within the organization's front office were let go over the last three years just to pay them to go away?! This team has no problem wasting money on their mistakes, so why doesn't the same logic apply to the coaching staff?! There's absolutely no reason why this team can't do the same with DJ Smith and his 775k per year salary, with 2 years left on it. The organization should fire him now and pay him his salary to go away, especially since this organization has shown this fanbase they are willing to waste money to do so on other numerous occasions.

Personally, there's been too much talk for over a year now about acquiring a top 6 forward or top 4 defensemen when one of the teams pressing needs is to upgrade their head coaching position. With Detroit and Boston needing head coaches in your own division, how on earth would you allow either team to hire one of the available head coaches on the market to get an edge over you when you will be battling with these teams to make the playoffs?! Take it a step further, the Philadelphia Flyers are looking for a head coach in the Eastern Conference and now you have three teams looking to gain an advantage on you when it comes to coaching for the coming season.

This team can't afford to leave points on the table this coming season like they did last season because of inept lineup decisions or a lack of in-game adjustments by a head coach who is clearly in over his head. Supposedly this front office and management group is serious about showing the Sens fanbase that they want to challenge for a playoff spot this coming season from everything you hear from Dorion. In that case, you need to analyze all aspects of the organization, not just the on-ice product.

I know for a fact from a few sources, that NHL teams have approached Pierre McGuire to find out what the Sens think of different draft prospects. How on earth did Dorion let him go before the NHL entry draft when all his work would've benefitted the team leading up to the draft? Meanwhile, anyone in NHL circles will tell you that numerous teams contact front office personnel that were fired prior to the draft to get an edge on their counterparts, it's par for the course, they say. It's called doing everything you can to get an edge on your opponent!

In fact, I've had some NHL personnel and scouts go as far as to say that Belleville Senators HC Troy Mann would be an upgrade on DJ Smith due to how well he has developed many of the team's prospects over the past few years and how DJ has mismanaged them once they've been called up. There has been a lot of noise coming from numerous people in the organization on how DJ has mishandled the team prospects once up with the big club. If you go back to when DJ was hired he talked about how he wanted to improve the defensive system. If you take it a step further, he has achieved nothing that Dorion said he would do when he was hired.

“D.J. Smith is a winner,” Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion said in a release. “We believe he is the best person to drive the development and success of the Ottawa Senators. D.J. is a great communicator and an exceptional strategist. His passionate approach, coupled with his ability to teach the game, is exactly what we were looking for throughout the process. We're thrilled to welcome D.J. and his family to Ottawa.” Sens fans will tell you they're waiting on all the above to happen, three years later!

Of the available head coaches below, which one wouldn't be an upgrade on DJ Smith? Any of the candidates below would be an upgrade on DJ. If Ottawa is serious about showing the fanbase and the players on this roster that they are willing to do whatever it takes to make the playoffs next season, should money matter at this point when this team hasn't had a problem spending money since Dorion was GM? I left out Dave Tippett, Travis Green, Dan Bylsma, Kirk Muller, Rick Bowness, and Patrick Roy on my list.

Bruce Cassidy - 7.5 years as HC in the NHL.
Paul Maurice - 24 years as HC in the NHL.
Claude Julien - 17 years as HC in the NHL.
Barry Trotz - 21 years as HC in the NHL.
Rick Tocchet - 6 years as HC in the NHL.
Peter DeBoer - 14 years as HC n the NHL.
John Tortorella - 20 years as HC in the NHL.
Jacques Martin - 17 years as HC in the NHL.
Joel Quenneville - 24 years as HC in the NHL.
Alain Vigneault - 17 years as HC in the NHL.
Mike Babcock - 17 years as HC in the NHL.

Let's face it Sens fans, both Troy and Trent Mann are destined for NHL positions at this time next year. Yet, the Sens have both of them under contract here in Ottawa, while neither has been promoted! How many other NHL teams would allow this to occur? Sadly, it seems to happen in Ottawa far too often under the guidance of Dorion, who by the way wasn't the first choice to succeed Bryan Murray in his role. This team can't afford to let either of the Mann brothers be hired by another NHL organization as both have been influential in getting Ottawa to the position they are currently at as they've been instrumental in the team's success in drafting and developing players over the last 4-6 years respectively.

Comments/thoughts on who should lead the Sens behind for the 2022-23 season.
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