• By: Dave Gross

Sens Need to Fill the Void

SENATORS: A Week in Review is a weekly column looking back at the week in Ottawa Senators hockey written by OLMSports Dave Gross.

Feature photo Courtesy NHLI via Getty Images

If you're any fan at all of the Ottawa Senators, you would have to qualify this past week as being enormously disappointing.

As expressed in this space last week, general manager Pierre Dorion needed to pull the trigger on some sort of deal that would keep defenceman Marc Methot in an Ottawa uniform.


One of the NHL's premier shut-down blueliners sailed off into the sunset as an expansion draft selection of the Vegas Golden Knights.

For nothing.

If the asking price was a first-round selection (Ottawa had the 28th overall pick) in a trade to keep him, so be it. This is considered to be a very weak draft year – in other words, Ottawa would be somewhat lucky to land somewhat of an impact player with that late first-round selection – the Senators selected centre Shane Bowers of the USHL, and the expectation is he becomes a reliable two-way centre down the road. Bowers will head to Boston University in 2017-18.

So not much to do cartwheels over, right?


Much of the chatter after the expansion draft centred on Ottawa being able to fill Methot's role from within.

Sorry folks, I don't buy a Freddy Claesson-Erik Karlsson duo as being remotely as effective as a Methot-Karlsson duo.

All in all, it was a big mistake by the organization.

People might shrug their shoulders, citing Methot's age (he just turned 32), but I'd counter that by saying he easily has 4-5 more years of quality hockey remaining.

And don't forget that Karlsson is slated for unrestricted free agency two summers from now. I am pretty sure the loss of his sturdy and steady defence partner will play a role to some degree in his decision to remain in Ottawa or travel elsewhere.

Karlsson wants to play for a winner, and Ottawa was an eyelash away from making it to the Stanley Cup final this past season – with Methot playing a big role.

Something else to consider?

The Senators are not an overly youthful hockey club, so the window – give or take a Thomas Chabot and/or Colin White jumping in – is not wide open.

Hanging on to Methot would give this team another head start on a solid year next season.

Now I understand that this whole mess might have been avoided had Dion Phaneuf waived his no-movement clause. But the team was well aware where Dion sat on this issue going into expansion.

Publicly, Ottawa is saying all the right things – "That’s his right and I respect the right that Dion can say, ‘No,"’ Dorion said to Sportsnet this week. "Isn’t it a good thing that someone wants to be in Ottawa? I think it’s a good thing that people want to be in Ottawa. I think it’s a good thing that Dion still wants to be part of what we’re trying to build here.

"So I’ve got no problems with Dion."

"He’s a character guy," Dorion continued saying to Sportsnet. "I think people forget like when we were struggling a bit, what he did in Dallas (on March 8), I don’t think I could ever forget. He went up to Jamie Benn – probably arguably one of the best players in the league – and fought him. Showed that ‘I don’t care if we’re in your building, we’re going to do whatever it takes to win.’

"That says a lot about Dion Phaneuf."

Still, word on the draft floor was that Ottawa was/is working the phones trying to deal Dion and his monstrous contract.

Phaneuf – like Methot – was terrific in the playoffs. I understand the economics, but taking two of your Top-4 D-men out of the lineup will have consequences.

Looking from the outside on in, this was not one of Ottawa's better weeks of work.

The opportunity was there to hang on to a premier blueliner (I've been informed that they don't grow on trees) for a price.

That didn't happen.

If you're an Ottawa Senators fan, this is discouraging and seemingly avoidable news.