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After almost a year, the Ottawa Senators sale has officially closed, with Michael Andlauer taking over the team. Today (September 22nd), a Michael Andlauer press conference took place to make his first official appearance as the owner of the Ottawa Senators. In other news, the first few days of training camp have passed, and some interesting tidbits will be broken down. Finally, the Sens signed rookie camp invitee Djibril Toure to a 3-year ELC. Find everything about Andlauer, Toure, and the training camp below.
Michael Andlauer Press Conference Highlights
Since it was announced that Michael Andlauer had the preferred bid in the Ottawa Senators ownership process, everything discussed about him as a person/owner has been overwhelmingly positive. Today, we got a taste of why Michael Andlauer is as respected as he is. Michael Andlauer demonstrated his passion, belief, and willingness to build the Ottawa Senators into a Stanley Cup winner in his opening press conference. He made about as good of an opening impression as one could.
Possibly, the most significant piece of news from this press conference was the announcement that Cyril Leeder will be fulfilling the CEO role for the Ottawa Senators. Leeder is already familiar with this role in the franchise as he was former CEO and President of the Sens from 2009-2017. Shortly following Cyril Leeder’s announcement, there was an announcement that Erin Crowe was promoted to CFO/COO. Both individuals acknowledge that they have lots of work to do and are ready for business.
Another familiar face was on hand for the press conference with Daniel Alfredsson sitting front-row. It has been heavily rumoured for months that a Daniel Alfredsson return to the Sens is all but guaranteed. This will likely come in the form of a player development role, but that is still up in the air. Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia added some gas to the fire after tweeting that Daniel Alfredsson is “next” after Cyril Leeder returned to the organization. Expect an announcement about Alfie to be coming sooner rather than later.
Discussions about building a new arena also came up during the conference. Michael Andlauer addressed that the goal is to build somewhere in the downtown core of Ottawa. He added that this was wanted by himself, the mayor, and the NCC putting everybody on the same page. A timeline was not explicitly discussed, but Andlauer mentioned that he doesn’t expect the team to move downtown for north of 5 years.
Finally, some emotional moments arose during Michael Andlauer’s speech. Andlauer showed how much this team means to him and demonstrated that this was far more than just a business decision. He reiterated his point about Ottawa being in the centre of two major markets (Montreal and Toronto). He discussed how he has been and likes being in an underdog situation. He truly believes that this team can and will win a Stanley Cup for the city of Ottawa.
Takeaways From Training Camp So Far
We will get more insight into what the Senators plan to run on opening night once we see the later pre-season games. But regardless, there have been some exciting deployments in the Sens training camp so far. The team has experimented with some interesting line combos as they look for chemistry.
The most intriguing thing so far has been the decision to run Thomas Chabot on the right side with Jakob Chychrun. While I expected this to be a pair the Sens would look at, I was confident they would use Jakob Chychrun on the right side. Chychrun is likely the more experienced on the right side, given he played there during his time with Arizona. Chychrun is also the stronger defensive player of the two, so in theory, it makes more sense for him to adapt to playing his weak side.
Something everybody could have seen coming from miles away was that Tim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk, and Claude Giroux have been dominant in camp. The Sens elite first line has been held together so far, but that will likely change as camp continues. Coach DJ Smith mentioned that he wanted everybody to watch and learn from those three guys early on, but they would be split up over time. Smith also said he plans for Tarasenko to get some looks with Stutzle, so look out for a line of Tkachuk, Stutzle, and Tarasenko to get some reps.
Even with the shiny new toys (Tarasenko, Korpisalo, Kubalik), most fans were dialed in to see how Josh Norris looked in camp. After some unfortunate news about Norris’ shoulder tweak, it’s exciting to hear that he looks like himself so far. DJ Smith also mentioned that the plan for Josh Norris is to sit him out for the first two pre-season games but get him in for some action before the season opener. While it’s not a reassuring answer, time will tell how healthy Josh Norris’ shoulder is.
Sens Sign Djibril Toure To 3-Year ELC
Undrafted camp invitee Djibril Toure has signed a 3-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators. Toure is a 20-year-old defenceman who most recently played for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. He is coming from a season where he scored 5 goals and 11 assists for 16 points in 57 games.
Toure is definitely a project for the Sens, but at 6’7, 203 lbs, he has plenty of tools to turn into a unicorn of a player. At this point, it is still a long shot that he will turn into an NHLer, but the team clearly sees some potential in his game. Toure notably has a tremendous overall skating ability. Mix in solid skating with a 6’7 body, and it’s obvious why the Senators are bullish on him as a player. Toure will be competing for a roster spot in Belleville for this season.
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