• By: Dave Gross

Wisely Quiet on Senator front

If there’s one word that encompasses the entirety of newish Ottawa general manager Steve Staios’ short reign, it’d have to be patience.

He’s showcased a ton of it through the days and weeks leading up to the hotly awaited National Hockey League trade deadline (3 pm ET, Friday). Staios has stuck to his guns – you remember, the ones he and owner Michael Andlauer spoke on regarding a fresh and ‘patient’ approach when they took over – and not much changed Friday when the bell tolled 3 pm.

The Ottawa Senators won’t leave the 2024 trade deadline as the most talked about team in the league. Not even close. Hell, they won’t even leave being the most talked about team in Canada’s small eastern sector.

After surprising absolutely no one with a deal that sent veteran scorer Vladimir Tarasenko out the door (to Florida) on Wednesday, Staios stayed quiet the rest of the way, unless you consider a waiver claim on 25-year-old left winger Boris Katchouk as being significant.

(Didn’t think so.)

Anyone rooting for another round of Pierre Dorion-esque whirling, wheeling and dealing heads into the weekend disappointed. And frankly we don’t disagree with Staios here — this was not the deadline to go whole hog and be much of a player.

Staios and Andlauer and the rest of the cast and crew running the Ottawa organization have far too much serious work ahead to change this mess overnight, never mind during a relatively active Friday morning and early afternoon around the circuit.

A few thoughts on some of the skaters left standing in Ottawa then.

Jakob Chychrun? It’s no secret that unless Staios had his socks knocked off, he wasn’t moving. The soon-to-be 26-year-old blueliner has been hugely unspectacular in Ottawa . . . it’s almost like his game aligned well with a sinking ship: The worse the Senators became, the worse Chychrun became.

He still has a year left on a very cheap contract which puts Ottawa in the driver’s seat here. Staios (and his patience) can take this well into the summer months before making a, if any, call on Chychrun.

As my dad would say: “We’ll see.”

Erik Brannstrom? Apparently there was some interest in the guy-you-swapped-Mark-Stone-for, but Brannstrom isn’t anyone’s idea of a prototypical playoff performer. Fair or not, some scouts label Brannstrom as a d-man who plays scared.

Dominik Kubalik? The forward, who seemed to lose his game somewhere near the Michigan-Ontario border on his way to Ottawa in early July last summer, garnered not much interest. Given the way Kubalik’s played, you’ll understand.

Mark Kastelic? Might have been a decent fit somewhere but you’re not really going to get much of anything in return for a guy who can barely cut it as a fourth-liner on a bottom-dwelling team.

So there it is.

Not much – we’ll grant you that.

But expect to see more, and I mean a lot more, from the Staios camp come the off-season. He has 21 games left to diagnose the issues with this sputtering team and make the right adjustments when the time is more appropriate.

There’ll be no summer holiday at the Staios house.


THOUGHT, SEEN AND HEARD: As for the rest of Canada – loved where Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver went a’ tinkering at and leading up to the deadline. The Western Conference did anything but sit pat this past week. What a dogfight . . . Glad to see Montreal finally addressed the three-headed goalie situation. Getting a third-round pick for Jake Allen was decent return . . . Connor Dewar, Ilya Lyubushkin and Joel Edmundson help in little ways for Toronto. Still, does anyone see this roster pushing hard past Boston in the opening round? . . . Is it me or is Vegas and Kelly McCrimmon the team to beat at pretty well every deadline? . . . Sad to watch Sidney Crosby’s face after the Penguins dealt sniper Jake Guentzel away. This guy’s not used to losing . . . Tampa seems to be clutching at straws trying to convince everyone they’re ‘still-in-it’ by acquiring Matt Dumba. After watching the club play quite a bit this year, I’m not buying it . . . GM Julien BriseBois tried to play smartest guy in the room last year as well in trading for Tanner Jeannot. BriseBois surrendered a first, second, third, fourth and fifth-round pick in that one. Ugh . . . Might be time to change TSN and Sportsnet’s trade deadline ‘day’ packaging into trade deadline ‘week’ . . . That ‘day’ moniker has gone the way of the Rideau Canal Skateway . . . TSN had seven-plus hours to fill on Friday. After all that time, the silly exchanges between capable hosts got off-the-rails tired . . . Do guys like Pierre Lebrun, Elliotte Friedman and Darren Dreger just spend the rest of the weekend sleeping? Pretty exhausting schedule for the ‘insiders.’



Saturday, March 9: Ottawa at San Jose (7 pm)

Tuesday, March 12: Pittsburgh at Ottawa (7 pm)




Photo: via thehockeynews