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There will be changes as Senators head into summer

There will be changes as Senators head into summer
Published On: Tue, May 30
Mar 15, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond (30) makes a save on a shot from Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) for the win. The Senators defeated the Flyers 2-1 in a shoot-out at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators wont rest on their laurels.

As general manager Pierre Dorion and coach Guy Boucher met with the media Monday at the Canadian Tire Centre to wrap up 2016-17 campaign, they expressed pleasure with the most successful season for the franchise in a decade, but also an understanding that the Senators couldnt afford to sit still if they were to improve.

Since the Senators were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the National Hockey Leagues Eastern Conference final last Thursday, Dorion and Boucher have already shifted their focus to next season following seven hours of exit meetings with the players on Saturday. The goal for 2017-18 is to have the franchise take another step towards a Stanley Cup.

I think were headed in the right direction. We can always improve, Dorion said. We can always get better. I dont think were looking for anything specific. If we can improve this team we will.

And the Senators wont be trying to repeat the magic with the same group.

Before the playoffs started, Dorion halted contract talks with agents to focus on the post-season. Yes, he wants to keep restricted free agents Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Ryan Dzingel, but he isnt sure what route the club will take with unrestricted free agents Tommy Wingels, Viktor Stalberg, Tom Pyatt, Chris Kelly and Chris Neil.

A few days after we were done, we started conversations again, Dorion said.

No question Boucher wants Pyatt back, but the future of Wingels and Stalberg, who were trade-deadline rentals, is uncertain. Since Kelly and Neil havent just been good players on the ice for the Senators, but have also made contributions in the dressing room and in the community, Dorion wants to sit down with them individually.

Theyve both expressed a desire to play next season, but they may not be in the Senators plans, judging by how little they played in the playoffs.

I will meet personally with Chris Neil and Chris Kelly in the next few weeks to find out what their plans are, Dorion said. If theyre in relation with our plans, then well go from there.

Not only will Dorion be working on contracts, he has to get plans in place for the expansion draft next month. One of the first calls Dorion made when the season ended was to Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee to discuss possible trades. The Senators can sweeten the pot ensure the Knights dont select a player the Senators want to keep.

Read the complete news article here...


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