By: Adam Floujeh
Ottawa Senators fans might be getting flashbacks to the 2017-18 season right about now. #MelnykOut, the Uber video, the team turning to dust the moment they acquired Matt Duchene. It felt like every week there was another controversy surrounding the Sens and their front office. Now, about a month in, 2023-24 is starting off as a real contender to rival it.
There is lots of time for things to change course but if the first month is a sign for the season, the Senators could be in serious trouble.
We’re going to talk about two events that took place before the start of this season. Stay with me, there’s a reason for it.
Jun. 28, 2021 Ottawa trades Evgenii Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights
You know why I’m mentioning it ;)
Dadonov and Ottawa just weren’t a fit together so Vegas went and acquired him.
March 21, 2022 (Trade Deadline) - Vegas trades Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks
You also know why I’m mentioning this ;)
Less than a year later, Vegas would trade Dadonov and a conditional second-round draft pick to the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks in exchange for John Moore and the contract of Ryan Kesler. It was essentially salary cap shenanigans.
March 23, 2022- JUST KIDDING THE TRADE GOT NIXED BY THE LEAGUE DAYS LATER
It was discovered Dadonov had a 10-team no-trade list that included the Ducks, meaning he was not eligible to be traded there. How dare the Golden Knight try such a thing?? HOWEVER, it was discovered the Senators had failed to provide Vegas with his no-trade list the previous summer.
Although most of the blame was placed on Ottawa, no punishment was handed out…for the time being…
July 7, 2022 Sens acquire Alex DeBrincat
Ottawa sent a package of draft picks, including the seventh overall pick in 2022, to the Chicago Blackhawks to acquire the “shortking” winger on the heels of a 40-goal season. At the time the trade seemed to be a sign of a Sens team on the rise and ready to challenge for the playoffs.
Now, to 2023. When it really goes downhill
Jul 10, 2023 - DeBrincat traded after a subpar, one year pit stop in Ottawa
After the all-star winger made it clear he wouldn’t sign an extension with the Senators, they traded him to the Detroit Red Wings for a conditional first-round pick and other assets, including forward Dominik Kubalik.
Sept 21, 2023 Michael Andlauer is here
Former minority owner of the Montreal Canadiens, Michael Andlauer, officially buys the Ottawa Senators for a juicy sum of nearly $1 billion (after a underratedly long sale process where he was clearly the NHL’s preferred buyer)
Sept 29, 2023 – Steve Staios is brought on as President of Hockey Ops
Staios was previously the President and GM of the Hamilton Bulldogs under Andlauer as owner. Hockey guys LOVE the people they know.
Oct 21, 2023 DeBrincats Return to Ottawa
Boos showered Alex DeBrincat in his return to Ottawa but he would get the last laugh as Detroit convincingly won the game 5-2.
DeBrincat currently has nine goals and 14 points in 13 games played for Detroit, putting him on pace to score 56.7 goals and 88.3 points. Both would be career highs for the 25 year old.
Oct 24, 2023 - Senators drop one to the Sabres on Craig Anderson night
Craig Anderson might be the most beloved goalie in Senators history. To celebrate his retirement, Ottawa signed him to a one-day contract, allowing him to retire as a Senator. A pregame ceremony was held in his honour.
This may not seem like the biggest deal but losing a game that’s centered around a beloved player like Anderson has to sting for Sens faithful.
Oct 26, 2023 - Pinto Suspension
Unsigned forward Shane Pinto was suspended for 41 games for violating NHL wagering rules, one of the longest suspensions in NHL history. The NHL put out only a short statement to clarify Pinto did not bet on NHL games
Oct 27, 2023 – Defenceman Thomas Chabot OUT 4-6 weeks with a fractured hand
Nov 1, 2023 – The Flood Gates Open
Out of nowhere, the NHL announces that the Senators will be required to forfeit a first-round pick in either 2024, 2025 or 2026 as punishment for their part in the nixed Dadonov trade.
Following a conversation with Staios, GM Pierre Dorian was relieved of his duties for his negligence
Steve Staios is named interim GM
Michael Andlauer has an ALL-TIME presser where he claimed the NHL told him the Dadonov trade situation was a “non-issue” during the selling process and that he was not made aware of the Shane Pinto investigation. Andlauer has not been fined for his comments
Nov 2, 2023 – Even more injuries
Both Mark Kastelic and Ridley Greig suffer injuries against the LA Kings
Kastelic suffered a high-ankle sprain, and while the exacts aren’t known for Greig, both are expected to be out at least two more weeks
Nov 5, 2023 – “FIRE DJ”
Saturday Night, Hockey Night in Canada, the day hockey fans love more than any other… and the Sens lose 6-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
New free agent signing Joonas Korpisalo gets pulled in the second period
*Checks notes* Korpisalo is in year one of a five-year contract and has a 10 team no trade list according to CapFriendly. Let’s just hope they remember he has that list if they try to trade him at some point
The crowd at Canadian Tire Centre chanted “FIRE DJ”
#FireDJ would also trend on X/Twitter a few hours later
Senators Captain Brady Tkachuk was not very appreciative of the crowd being so vocal
Where are we today?
The Sens currently hold a 4-6-0 record, good enough for last in the Atlantic Division...
Fan support of DJ Smith is clearly at an all-time low…
And their next game is against the Leafs – Oh yes please, give me that drama all day long.
So yeah, spare a thought for Sens fans.
God help them, it's only November 8.