“Out with the old and in with the new”
On the final day of 2023, the Ottawa Senators announced major changes to their front office. Steve Staios has officially been named the ninth general manager in franchise history. Staios has been the interim GM since the departure of Pierre Dorion in November, and now that interim tag has been removed. He’ll maintain his top role as the Senators’ President of Hockey Operations.
The club also announced that TSN analyst Dave Poulin has accepted the role of Senior Vice- President of Hockey Operations.
Owner Michael Andlauer held a New Year’s Eve press conference to make the announcements. “I see Steve as a natural to be our general manager,” Andlauer said.”He spent the last two months rolling up his sleeves, working diligently to better understand the needs of our team. He knows this team better than anybody else I know”
Poulin is a former Selke Trophy winner (86-87), playing in the NHL from 1982 to 1995 with Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington. He played and coached at Notre Dame and worked in Toronto’s front office. Andaluer says he’s known Poulin for the past 14 years.
“This move is consistent with having hockey operations managed by two first class individuals, who will collaborate and complement each other in establishing a stable foundation for our hockey operation”, Andlauer said.
Staios wasn’t about to unveil any specific plans for the new year in his new permanent role as general manager. For now, he wants to monitor how the team responds with a new coaching staff in place.
“To make an evaluation on something without all the information is not the right way to do it” Staios said. “So I want to see how this coaching staff can resonate with this group. I know they’re sending the right message. We gotta learn how to play the right way.”
“I believe we have the right coaching staff in place to implement those right core values to play the right way. And then you start to evaluate the roster, and you see how everybody fits in and what the dynamics are and what changes may need to be made at that point.”
For Poulin, he left behind an excellent job at TSN, but there was one element of this particular NHL opportunity that made it so attractive.
“The people I’ll be working with,” Poulin said.”I’ve been really fortunate in my career. I’ve had this eclectic career. It hasn’t been a straight line at all… But this is about joining people. This is about Michael and Steve and the people they’re putting in place. And I know them well. This is an opportunity to be with what I believe is a special group.”
Ryan Bowness was Dorion’s right-hand man but seems to have impressed the new regime. He goes from the role of assistant general manager to associate GM. “I think the world of Ryan Bowness” Staios said. “I think he adds a great deal to our group.” Ryan has not been with our organization very long. He came from a winning organization in Pittsburgh with two Stanley Cups. He’s seen what it takes to be a strong front office and to move an organization along to championship form.”
With the Eugene Melnyk/Pierre Dorion/D.J. Smith era in the past and new coaches and managers now in place, Andlauer has a simple New Year’s wish for his hockey club. “Stability is not a word that has been synonymous with this organization,” Andlauer said. “So my New Year’s resolution, as we enter 2024, would be to make stability part of our fans’ vocabulary for years to come.”