Canada’s national capital may not be the most populous city in the land, but it sure sees its share of rumours and turmoil. In this edition of NHL rumours, we focus on the Ottawa Senators. Even if the news of firing their Head Coach has not had time to scab over, murmurings of the next-in-line have begun. Also, on the player front, the currently suspended centre, Shane Pinto, is eligible to return in just over a month. What does this mean? For Senator fans, it might be time to get excited about something, his return!
Friedman talking potential Sens permanent head coach candidates (TJMS): “I do think they will want to talk to the Marlies AHL coach John Gruden”
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) December 19, 2023
The Biggest of Rumours for the Ottawa Senators: Who Will Become Their Next Head Coach?
The Ottawa Senators rumours will be in full force after firing their long-time Head Coach D.J. Smith. This was the fifth season with Smith at the helm, and now the process has begun to find his replacement. However, it seems as though the process had already begun, and no thanks to the team’s newish owner, Michael Anderlauer.
If you really think about Anderlauer has had a honey-do list not insignificant since coming on board. He has hired a President of Hockey Operations (Steve Staios), and a Director of Analytics (Sean Tierney). Also, two more so key behind-the-scenes hirings in Daniel Alfredsson and Jacques Martin. Both of whom have been subsequently promoted with the Smith firing, Alfredsson to Assistant Coach and Martin to (Interim) Head Coach. Of course, along with the Smith firing, the General Manager Pierre Dorion had been fired as well. If you think being an NHL owner is all perks and glamour, believe you me it comes with its share of dirty laundry as well. For instance, it was quite insightful of Andlauer to provide himself some assurance regarding the Dadonov trade debauchery in the purchase process.
Who is Gruden?
So, where does land us in the rumour mill? According to Elliotte Friedman, via the 32 Thoughts Podcast, John Gruden is a name that pops up. No, not that Jon Gruden, the 15-year NFL veteran Head Coach. (John) Gruden is the current Head Coach of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Gruden interestingly enough played for the Ottawa Senators once upon a time as a defenceman. Furthermore, he has been behind an NHL bench as an assistant coach previously and is seen as one of the next up-and-comer type coaches. The connection to the Sens is evident as well if you consider that he coached the Andlauer owned Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL, during 2017-18. That year, the club was crowned playoff champions of the OHL. To add to Gruden’s impressive resume, he did work as an assistant coach for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program at one point as well.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 18, 2023
More Ottawa Senators Rumours: A Shane Pinto Sighting
Now, before we let you go, the last of the rumours for the Ottawa Senators, and that begins and ends with Shane Pinto. Okay, granted, it isn’t the juiciest of rumours. But, it is very important from a logistical standpoint. The word on the street is that Pinto was spotted at the Ottawa Christmas Market in Lansdowne. This is a big deal. The Senators have no contractual obligation to sign Pinto. Moreover, given Pinto’s lack of leverage with his mental discretion resulting in the 41-game suspension, he has no bargaining chip. Therefore, he will have to sign for a league minimum type amount. Which, if the Sens sport a full lineup, is all they can afford. If Pinto was at home in New York at this time of year, you could speculate he is uninterested. But he’s in Ottawa, and that means he will be ready to hit the ice when he is eligible to do so. That timing being 10 days before his game eligibility on January 21st.
Main photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports