The Ottawa Senators are continuing their raid of Switzerland this off-season. First, the Senators brought aboard coaches Guy Boucher and Marc Crawford, both of whom had spent the past several seasons in the Swiss NLA, and Ottawa added to their former Swiss league contingent Tuesday when they announced the signing of Tom Pyatt.
Pyatt’s one-year, two-way deal carries a cap hit of $800,000 when he’s up with the Senators. The contract signals Pyatt’s return from a two-year stay in the Swiss NLA. He spent both seasons with Genève-Servette HC and had two stellar seasons, scoring 22 goals and 62 points in 92 games with the Swiss club.
You can be sure that the 29-year-old’s play overseas, where both Boucher and Crawford saw him on a regular basis, helped Pyatt land the deal in Ottawa. Senators GM Pierre Dorion said as much in a release. Read more
During a recent appearance on Edmonton’s 630 CHED radio, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman created some buzz by suggesting Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie could be in play this summer.
Barrie, 24, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Coming off two seasons with 53 and 49 points respectively, he’ll want a substantial raise over his current annual average salary of $2.6 million. He could fetch a deal comparable to that of teammate Erik Johnson (seven-years, $42 million), which might not fly with Avs management.
Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch may be headed to unrestricted free agency a little early if a report by the Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch comes to fruition. According to Garrioch, there are major rumblings that the Ottawa Senators will not qualify the pending restricted free agent this summer, forcing the defenseman onto the open market.
Wiercioch would cost the Sens at least $2.7 million should Ottawa choose to qualify him and based on his recent returns, that’s a lot of money. At a lower cap hit (which any team could sign the blueliner to this summer) there is certainly some value in the 25-year-old, but new Senators GM Pierre Dorion seems to be taking a decisive stance early in his tenure. And I like it.
Marc Crawford has spent the past four seasons coaching the Swiss NLA’s Zurich Lions, but the veteran coach said he would be willing to take on any opportunity if it meant he could eventually get back behind an NHL bench. That opportunity may be coming in the form of an associate coaching position in Ottawa.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, it’s expected that Crawford, 55, will be named an associate coach on new Senators coach Guy Boucher’s staff as early as Monday. The reported hiring will come only one day after Boucher was hired by the Senators, and scooping up Crawford for the coaching staff means Ottawa’s two foremost bench bosses will have both coached in Switzerland’s top league this past season — Crawford with Zurich and Boucher with SC Bern.
In March, following his announcement that he’d be pursuing an NHL job, Crawford acknowledged his route back to an NHL bench might not be by jumping right back into a head coaching gig. “Maybe I have to come back and coach in the (AHL), maybe I have to be an assistant coach,” Crawford told TSN 1040 in March. “I do want to be a coach in the NHL again because it’s the best thing in the world.” Read more
The Senators were one of the frontrunners to land coach Bruce Boudreau, but after the former Anaheim Ducks bench boss signed a deal with the Minnesota Wild on Saturday evening, Ottawa had to change courses. And with Boudreau out of the picture, it didn’t take Senators GM Pierre Dorion long to come to a decision on who would be taking over behind the bench.
Ottawa announced Sunday afternoon that Guy Boucher has signed a three-year deal to become the 12th coach in franchise history. Boucher, 44, last coached in the NHL during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign when he was coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. During his three years with the Lightning, Boucher amassed 97-79-20 record and took Tampa Bay to the Eastern Conference final in 2010-11. Boucher’s resume also includes a QMJHL championship, AHL coach of the year award and a Spengler Cup gold medal.
“Over the past three weeks, Pierre Dorion and our hockey operations staff have undertaken a thorough and comprehensive search for our next head coach,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said in a release. “Following a detailed evaluation of all coaching candidates, there was overwhelming consensus that Guy was our top candidate. We wanted a great coach and this process yielded our top pick. I couldn’t be happier.” Read more
As the season begins to wind down, we’re starting to see some hardware handed out in the prospect ranks. Toronto Maple Leafs hopeful Mitch Marner, for example, just won the OHL’s Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s most outstanding player for his work with the London Knights. Another OHL award-winner is featured below in my weekly wrap-up. Elsewhere in the hockey world, the USHL is in the middle of its two-stage draft. During Phase 1 (for 2000 birthdays), Sioux Falls landed competitive center Gavin Hain with the No. 1 pick. Phase 2 (for 1999s and earlier) happened today. And speaking of the USHL, let’s get to this week’s round-up:
Erik Karlsson has a chance to win his second straight Norris Trophy and third since 2012, but a couple defensemen seeking their first prize stand in his way.
The Ottawa Senators captain was named a nominee for the league’s top blueliner award on Friday, joining Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty and Pacific Division rival Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks.
That Karlsson is yet again up for the award given to “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position” comes as little surprise.
The Senators have spent the past 20 seasons playing in nearby Kanata, which is located just outside of Ottawa, but the team took a big step towards heading back into the heart of Canada’s capital after winning a development bid for a 53-acre site situated west of downtown Ottawa.
At a vote Thursday, the National Capital Commission chose to proceed into negotiations with RendezVous LeBreton Group, which is backed by the Senators, concerning the future development of the LeBreton Flats site. The development bid, called IllumiNATION LeBreton, includes five neighborhoods, an aqueduct that can be turned into a skating path in winter and, of course, a brand new arena that would play host to the Senators.
“I’m so glad we won,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said of the decision, via CBC’s Paul Jay. “I know that we’re going to deliver on everything we said we would do, and I think it’s going to change the landscape of this city, for sure. It’s going to be a huge, huge win all around.” Read more