GARRIOCH: Coach D.J. Smith says he and GM Pierre Dorion have mentioned the potential of naming a captain


We’ll ‘C’ what occurs within the low season.

Because the Ottawa Senators begin trying in the direction of subsequent 12 months, coach D.J. Smith instructed this newspaper in a post-season wrap up interview Monday morning he and normal supervisor Pierre Dorion have mentioned the potential of naming a captain subsequent season, however these talks will proceed within the coming months.

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Whereas that doesn’t imply a choice to place the captain’s ‘C’ on anyone’s jersey in 2020-21 is ready in stone after the membership went with out one the final two seasons, Dorion and Smith will examine their choices to find out if one of many younger gamers is able to take the following step within the growth of their management with the Senators.

The Senators haven’t had a captain since they dealt defenceman Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks in Sept., 2018 and, as a substitute, have been going with three gamers carrying alternate ‘A’s. Final season, veterans Ron Hainsey, Mark Borowiecki and Jean-Gabriel Pageau wore the ‘A’s earlier than the latter was traded to the New York Islanders in February after he turned down a contract extension.

Defenceman Thomas Chabot, 23, who wore an “A’ down the stretch, and winger Brady Tkachuk, who will likely be 21 in September, would each be prime candidates to put on the ‘C’ for the group nevertheless it’s a giant determination by the Senators to resolve if both participant is prepared for that position.

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“We’ve talked a bit of bit about it,” Smith stated in an interview with Postmedia from his dwelling in Tecumseh, Ont. “There’s some robust selections to be be made there and are they prepared? Is it now? Is it in one other 12 months? That’s one thing and a dialogue will go on all through the summer season.

“The massive factor is you wish to be sure that the man is prepared and it’s not too quickly.”

Signed to an eight-year, $64 million deal final September that may kick in subsequent season, Chabot is probably going the highest candidate. He performs a giant position for the workforce by enjoying enormous minutes on a nightly foundation, he does issues the appropriate approach, he’s a pure chief and he’s already dedicated to be right here for the long-term.

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In fact, Tkachuk has to get consideration to be the captain as nicely as a result of there aren’t many nights the place he doesn’t lead this workforce into battle and carry all people else with him. He isn’t afraid to get his nostril soiled, he doesn’t have many off nights and he all the time works arduous.

No matter determination Dorion and Smith make will likely be tough as a result of as a lot because the membership is rebuilding round its younger gamers it doesn’t wish to foist an excessive amount of on them, both.

“If that participant isn’t prepared it may impact his sport,” Smith stated. “The captain needs to be a man who’s sport doesn’t waver whatever the rating and the way you’re enjoying. That’s one thing we’ll focus on with Pierre and the administration and make that call.”

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Every time the Senators return they’re going to have an injection of youth within the lineup subsequent season and that’s almost assured. Not solely will they’ve high-end prospects from the NHL draft in camp when it opens, Belleville prospects Josh Norris, Drake Batherson, Alex Formenton, Logan Brown, Vitaly Abramov, Erik Brannstrom and Christian Wolanin ought to all push for spots.

That’s why Smith is assured even when the Senators don’t play till December the membership will likely be in fine condition. Power and conditioning coach Chris Schwarz is conserving a tab on the gamers repeatedly and since the Senators are younger Smith is assured his group will likely be in fine condition regardless of the lengthy break the membership could have as a result of its not one of many 24 groups returning to motion this summer season.

“The most important factor is to ensure after we get to camp that there’s no excuses for a man to come back into camp and never be in the perfect form of his life,” Smith stated. “We’re going to have important day without work, it seems to be like, and there can’t be any surprises. Chris Schwarz has completed a pleasant job, however I’ve bought to ensure that I’m on prime of it as nicely and speaking with these guys.

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“Can we take a look at these guys? Can we discover a approach? How will we do it? That ensures us that when these guys get right here for camp, we are able to’t simply be in form, we should be within the higher echelon of the league in health for us to play quick and arduous each evening.”

The Senators and the opposite six groups that aren’t enjoying are holding talks with the NHL about how they’ll have entry to their gamers throughout this low season. Groups are scheduled to return for camp to renew the season round July 10 and the league instructed one of many non-participating groups on a convention name final week the chance existed they may convey their gamers in in the event that they wished.

“It could be nice if we may convey them in for a few weeks of skating or coaching and that’s going to be as much as the NHL to resolve what they’re going to permit us to do,” Smith stated. “However that may be best. If not, you’re relying lots on belief and counting on them being professionals they usually’re going to have themselves prepared.

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“Finally, these guys wish to have success and also you wish to give them the appropriate issues to be coaching on after they’re preparing. It’s so a lot better if you get them on the ice and also you’re in a position to see them. If we are able to’t, we’ll work round it and ensure we’re prepared.”

One of many greatest choices made will likely be figuring out whether or not this membership is able to have its ninth captain in franchise historical past.

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

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Twitter: @sungarrioch

 

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