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The seat isn't Pierre McGuire's ... yet.
The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that they have signed incumbent general manager Pierre Dorion to a contract extension that will keep him around through the 2024-25 season, with a club option for one additional year.
Dorion has been at the helm for five campaigns, originally taking on the role in 2016 when Bryan Murray stepped down due to health issues. The Senators made the Eastern Conference Final in Dorion's first season, losing in overtime in Game 7 to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. The team has missed the postseason in its four seasons since, but are now on the upswing after transitioning fully out of the era defined by the electrifying performances of former Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson.
Dorion has made unconventional, readily-questioned decisions in his five seasons in charge, but the Senators are unquestionably building a program with promise around a strong collection of top-end former prospects-turned-established NHL players, led by presumed future captain (and restricted free agent) Brady Tkachuk. After a difficult start, the Senators performed in the top half the division over the final two months of last season, taking 30 points from their last 25 games.
It will be tough for the Senators to build on that success and take a material step forward in 2021-22 given the strength of their division. The defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, upstart Florida Panthers, and always-competitive Boston Bruins will return to the Atlantic Division with the likes of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. Finishing with a better record than three of those five teams is the only way the Senators can assure themselves a spot in the postseason, though two wild card spots will be up for grabs in the Eastern Conference as well.
The Senators made a significant splash in the offseason when they named McGuire as senior vice-president of player development. Though Tuesday's announcement ends the speculation, the move did have many thinking that the former NBC colour analyst could be the heir apparent to Dorion, who was set to enter the final season on his contract.
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