After 20 years of Melnyk ownership, the Ottawa Senators have a new primary owner, Michael Andlauer had bought a controlling share (90%) of the club on June 13 from Melnyk’s children (Eugene Melnyk passed in March of 2022).
Andlauer was +1100 to win the bidding process for the Senators. So to all of you who put your money on the Canadiens minority owner to own the Sens: “Congrats”. And will you take me out to lunch with your winnings?
So much for a romantic reunion between former Ottawa resident Ryan Reynolds and the Sens. How awesome would that have been for the sleepy nation's capital?
I lived in a high rise. There were three in a row. I thought they were called, “The Vanier Towers”. I looked it up and they now seem to be business towers. My memory‘s a little foggy. I was around 13 yrs old at the time but I wasn’t particularly bright for my age.— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) April 11, 2020
With new ownership comes an era of hope for the Senators. Melnyk was one of the more polarizing owners in the league and you can pick from a list of terrible things he did or said but the worst, to me, is how he consistently antagonized his own fanbase by fanning the flames of relocation.
A New Hope
Senators fans will undoubtedly be happy to hear they’ve got new owners. The 22-23 season was the first without Eugene Melnyk directing the action in two decades and Ottawa did the unthinkable. They spent money.
Find someone who loves you the way Eugene Melnyk loves players whose cap hit is greater than their actual salary paid out— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) October 8, 2020
The Sens committed nearly $150 million to Claude Giroux, Josh Norris and Tim Stutzle. They also made big trades for young talent that will cost to retain. They acquired Jakob Chychrun who’s going to need a massive raise in 2025. Alex DeBrincat was acquired knowing he needed a $9 million qualifying offer in a year's time. Yes, the Sens are now listening on trade offers for DeBrincat, but at the time of the trade they were seemingly OK with his eventual sticker price.
This wouldn’t have happened under Melnyk. There’s a lot of hope this new ownership group led by Andlauer will continue this trend of investing in the playing roster through trades and free agency. Now, Ottawa might actually field a team that spends up to the cap and not to some internal cap well below the NHL’s ceiling.
Next caller asks Dorion what the salary cap for the league is and what the Senators' internal cap is.— Graeme Nichols (@GraemeNichols) March 14, 2019
New owners flashing the cash around is no guarantee of immediate success. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen five sides change hands and only one team made the playoffs. That was the Hurricanes after Tom Dundon bought them in 2018.
|Team||First Year Under New Owners||Point Differential*||Spending**||Made Playoffs|
|Arizona Coyotes||2019-20||-12||$14.917 million||No|
|Carolina Hurricanes||2018-19||+16||$9.775 million||Yes|
|Florida Panthers||2013-14||+4||$7.65 million||No|
|New Jersey Devils||2013-14||+6||$29.2 million||No|
|New York Islanders||2016-17||-6||$14.637 million||No|
*Points earned in first season vs previous season
** Cumulative cost of AAVs for 1-way deals signed in offseason
Return Of The Sens
The Sens might not repeat that trend. Last season, the Senators' odds to make the postseason were +210 and they finished the year five points out of the playoffs. They were inches away from a first postseason berth in six seasons.
Andlauer and his group will grant their GM - whether that’s current GM Pierre Dorion or someone else - the power to fix any and all gaps in the roster. Specifically in the net. Thankfully for Ottawa, former Vezina Connor Hellebuyck is on the market.
With their current playoff drought, I don’t think their “make or miss the playoffs” odds will change much for 2023-24. Which creates a lot of room for profit. I bet they fall somewhere between +150 and +200 for the 2024 playoffs.