When the late Bryan Murray handed the reins of general manager to Pierre Dorion in April 2016, he gave Dorion one key piece of advice.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Heading into the final season of his contract as Senators GM, Dorion knew he and the team would eventually carve out a new deal.
And with that, the 49-year old signed a three-year extension plus a club option for the 2025-26 campaign Tuesday. Dorion told Full Press Hockey, “I think more people around me were worried that I was working on my last year of my deal. But to be quite honest, I was not worried one iota. There are things you can control; the narrative you can control; control the decisions you can make. It’s one thing that he always led me to believe. Anyone that was around Bryan Murray, he treated everyone with the utmost respect. I try to do that.”
Dorion’s new contract falls in line with that of his head coach hired by GM in April 2019. Dorion hired D.J. Smith to lead his players out of the rebuild and is ecstatic the duo will lead the charge for at least the next three seasons.
“I think D.J. and I will be the nexus of this team for years to come. I think (owner) Eugene (Melynk) and I have been through a lot with this organization. I’m thankful for things that he’s put in me and the chance to allow us to win together,” the Senators GM added via Zoom.
In a team release, Melnyk said, “We’re very pleased to sign Pierre to a second extension as Senators general manager. Dating to when he was named GM in 2016, Pierre has worked tirelessly towards building an organization that can compete with the National Hockey League’s best. He’s dedicated, detailed and maintains a sound hockey mind. Under Pierre’s leadership, we have the utmost confidence that this team will soon be recognized as one that is consistently meriting success.”
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Joining the Senators organization in 2007 as director of amateur scouting, the 2021-22 campaign will mark Dorion’s seventh as GM of the team.
With youngsters Drake Batherson, Josh Norris, Tim Stützle having a full season under their belt and possessing a lineup that includes Thomas Chabot and Brady Tkachuk, there’s nowhere to go but up for the Senators.
“The challenge is no drop-off. Let’s keep the same pace – the same execution – the same way we played in the second half of last year. I don’t know if teams took us for granted in the second half. We weren’t an easy team to play against, but don’t take the foot of the gas pedal. We have to continue to grow as a team,” explained Dorion.
When asked if the team is ready to take the next step, the Senators GM was reminded of his statement when he took the position. “Why not us? Why not now?”
Dorion responded, “Without a doubt, why not us? Why not now? I think we took a huge step last year. I think we’re going to take another big step this year. We’ve got a lot of real good elements in place. We definitely have a lot of talent. We’ve got youth. We’ve got energy. Our goaltending stabilized itself as we went on last year. I think the defense is upgraded from what it is was last year. So why not us? We were really able to complete in the second half in the division last year. Why isn’t it the time to take that next step?”
The Senators may not be a playoff team next season. However, seeds have been planted for future growth. That growth will include Brady Tkachuk under contract at some point soon.
“We talked as recently as Friday. We’re not going to negotiate in public, but talks are ongoing, and they’ve been very positive so far. So, hopefully, the next announcement is definitely more important than this announcement.”
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