Chiasson’s days numbered in Ottawa

Dhiren Mahiban
Alex Chiasson (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

Alex Chiasson’s days in Ottawa appear to be coming to an end. The 25-year-old is a restricted free agent, but Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun suggested the forward could be dealt prior to the NHL draft in Buffalo next month.

Chiasson’s agent, Kent Hughes, confirmed to THN that he’s expecting his client to be moved.

The Montreal native’s one-year, $1.2 million contract, which was awarded by an arbitrator last summer, is set to expire in July.

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Chris Phillips retires as a lifetime Ottawa Senator. What legacy does he leave?

Matt Larkin
Chris Phillips. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Chris Phillips’ NHL career is over. The steady defenseman called it quits officially in a press conference Thursday after 17 seasons, all with the Ottawa Senators, the team that drafted him first overall in 1996. Phillips missed all of 2015-16, as he sustained a cracked vertebra rehabbing from off-season back surgery, but he still finishes his career as the franchise’s all-time leader in games. Phillips played his 1,179th and final one Feb. 5, 2015. It was enough to surpass Daniel Alfredsson’s team record by one.

Phillips said Thursday he made the decision to retire along with his family and doctors.

“I loved and will miss the competition of going up against the league’s best,” he told reporters. “I will miss everything the game has to offer and am grateful for everything it has given to me.”

Senators GM Pierre Dorion announced Thursday Phillips will stay on with the organization to work with alumni and in the community. Phillips’ philanthropic impact on Ottawa has been significant over the years. He and his family have assisted 22 charities in the community, Senators beat writer Bruce Garrioch reports.

When Ottawa kicked off the 1996 draft with Phillips in the top spot, then-GM Pierre Gauthier would’ve been thrilled if we emerged from a time machine and told him his new cornerstone D-man would spend his entire career in Canada’s capital and walk away second among active NHL blueliners in games. Phillips played in the 2007 Stanley Cup final. He received Norris Trophy votes in two of his seasons. But will he be remembered as the “right” choice at No. 1 overall in 1996?

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Swiss connection helps Tom Pyatt land one-year deal with Ottawa Senators

Jared Clinton
Tom Pyatt (Eric Lafargue for Geneve-Servette/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

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

Rumor Roundup: If Avalanche make Tyson Barrie available, Rangers could be a good trade partner

Tyson Barrie. (Getty Images)

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.

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Patrick Wiercioch gone in Ottawa? Sounds like Pierre Dorion’s not messing around

Ryan Kennedy
Patrick Wiercioch  (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

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.

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Marc Crawford to join Senators’ coaching staff as Guy Boucher’s associate

Jared Clinton
Marc Crawford (Faerjestad BK/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

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

After losing out on Boudreau, Senators turn to Boucher as new bench boss

Jared Clinton
Guy Boucher (IFK Helsinki/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

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

Prospect Need to Know: Wade Allison is burning up the draft charts

Wade Allison (Photo courtesy of the Tri-City Storm)

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:

 

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