Senators Fire General Manager Pierre Dorion
The Ottawa Senators have fired general manager Pierre Dorion after the club was penalized over its role in the 2021 trade of Evgenii Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights and the subsequent invalidated trade between the Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks.
The Senators must forfeit a first-round draft pick in one of the 2024, 2025 or 2026 drafts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: When the Golden Knights acquired Dadonov from the Senators, they were under the impression that his 10-team no-trade list was no longer active. That turned out not to be the case, which led to the league overruling their attempt to trade him to the Ducks at the 2022 trade deadline.
Initially, the Senators were reportedly cleared of wrongdoing regarding the Dadonov situation. Something else must have come to light since then to prompt the league to take this action, though they’ve offered up no detailed explanation as to why they’re doing so nearly 18 months after the fact.
Since becoming general manager of the Senators in 2016, Dorion has been attempting to rebuild the Senators roster. He laid the foundation of the current roster by drafting Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Drake Batherson, Jake Sanderson, Shane Pinto and Ridly Grieg. He also acquired Josh Norris and Jakob Chychrun and signed Claude Giroux and Vladimir Tarasenko.
Dorion also made a series of questionable moves. In recent years, he gave up three draft picks (including the No. 7 pick overall in the 2022 draft) to the Chicago Blackhawks for Alex DeBrincat when the winger only had a year left on his contract, then traded him to the Detroit Red Wings when he couldn’t get him signed to an extension.
He also sent goaltender Filip Gustavsson to the Minnesota Wild for an aging and banged-up Cam Talbot in 2022. Gustavsson is now the heir apparent to Marc-Andre Fleury in Minnesota while Talbot now plies his trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
Dorion also prioritized other free agents over Pinto this summer, leaving the Senators with insufficient cap space to sign the 22-year-old restricted free agent. That led to a contract stalemate resulting in Pinto missing the start of the season before he received a 41-game suspension for violating the league’s wagering rules.
Following the sale of the Senators to new owner Michael Andlauer this summer, the club announced Steve Staios had been hired as their new president of hockey operations. That move prompted some observers to suggest he would be a replacement for Dorion if the Senators failed to improve this season. Staios will now take over the GM duties on an interim basis.
It will be interesting to see if Staios remains as general manager or if a permanent replacement is hired. Either way, this move signals a change in direction for the Senators.