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Ownership Situation Looms Over The Ottawa Senators' Off-Season Plans

There's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Ottawa Senators this summer, both on and off the ice. Still, the club will continue to push ahead.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion held his end-of-season press conference on Sunday, outlining his off-season plans to improve the club for next season. Hovering over those intentions, however, is the uncertainty over who fills the void left by the death in March of team owner Eugene Melnyk.

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported Dorion has been reporting to a three-person board that includes Melnyk's longtime business associate Lawrence Zeifman and John Miszuk, the club's chief administrative officer. The Senators GM indicated he's been doing so for several years and anticipates that the structure won't be changing anytime soon.

Nevertheless, questions linger over who will eventually take over ownership of the club. Soon after Melnyk's death, Postmedia's Michael Traikos reported potential suitors jockeying to express interest in purchasing the franchise.

Traikos believed some, like media giant Quebecor, would want to relocate the franchise. Others prefer keeping the team in Ottawa. An informed source claims John Ruddy, head of Trinity Development Group, is the favorite of the city of Ottawa and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Ruddy and Melnyk had formed a partnership exploring the possibility of constructing a new arena complex at LeBreton Flats. That effort eventually broke down as Melnyk sued Ruddy over “an egregious conflict of interest on the part of Trinity”.

Meanwhile, Dorion presses ahead with his off-season projects. He indicated the club will increase its salary-cap budget for 2022-23 but won't spend to the $82.5 million ceiling. Restricted free agents Joshua Norris and Alex Formenton require new contracts.

Dorion would also like to add a veteran player or two to bolster his lineup. He didn't rule out shopping his 2022 first-rounder unless they win the upcoming draft lottery.


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