Ottawa Senators GM Steve Staios Begins a Long Off-Season Filled with Decisions

As Ottawa Senators GM Steve Staios sat down with the local media for the final time this season, there was no shortage of things to talk about. The club missed the playoffs for a seventh straight time this season and it now promises to be a summer filled with big storylines.

Since assuming leadership of the club, Staios has prioritized roster evaluation. And with the season now behind us, he shared some of his insights with the media on Friday..

“It was a very important year for evaluation on how we’re going to approach moving forward,” Staio said. “I think there’s massive potential for internal growth with this group the way that it is. Now, in saying that, there are areas that need to be addressed, and that’s my job.”

Staios also faces big decisions on certain players, most notably Jakob Chychrun, whose future remains uncertain, especially after admitting on Thursday he hadn’t thought at all about his future beyond next season. Staios wasn’t prepared to get into it much either.

“He’s a heck of a player,” Staios said. “We think highly of Jakob Chychrun. And a lot of our players now, we’ll look at all areas to see how it all fits.”

Goaltending emerged as a significant concern this season, with Staios acknowledging the team’s struggles in net this season. But he also said more than once at the presser that he believes both Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg are better than their numbers show.

Staios provided an update on his top two centres, who both ended the year on the injury list. Josh Norris had successful surgery and will return in time for training camp. Tim Stutzle had shoulder and wrist issues that sound like they were more of the nagging variety.

Staios believes Stutzle’s biggest area of growth next season will come from the mental side of things.

“Well, when you’re a top talent like (Stutzle), you feel like you can make an impact on every shift. And so when it doesn’t happen, that’s the frustration,” Staios said. “That’ll be the growth for Tim. And we know it’s coming.”

While trying to fix the on ice product, Staios will also need help from his new head coach. But first, he has to decide who he is. The next man up will replace interim coach Jacques Martin, who will transition back to a consultant role. Staios emphasized the importance of a thoughtful decision-making process.

“I think making sure that we take the appropriate amount of time to be able to look at everybody that may be available is important,” Staios said. “Now, as we’re going through the process, if we feel like we have the perfect candidate, then we would move on it. But certainly at this point in time, we’re still working through our list.”

A notable development on Friday was Staios ruling out the possibility of Daniel Alfredsson becoming the next head coach of the Senators.

“I had a great conversation with Alfie,” Staios said. “He’s not going to be in consideration for the head coaching job at this point in time. I think he does believe that if he does continue on the coaching path, he’ll need a little bit more time.”

Not unlike this seemingly never ending rebuild.

Despite the disappointments of the past season, Staios remains hopeful that the returning core will learn from the challenges of the past few seasons. And he knows he’ll have to supplement their growth by making some great decisions this summer.

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