After the conclusion of Monday's NHL Trade Deadline, Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion held a media availability after a busy day of moves.
The Senators traded away defencemen Braydon Coburn, Erik Gudbranson and Mike Reilly, receiving multiple draft picks in return. The team also claimed d-man Victor Mete off of waivers Monday and recently acquired forward Michael Amadio from the Kings.
Read on for more from the Senators' general manager.
Did the trade deadline go according to your plan?
Without a doubt. For us, this trade deadline was about moving some of the quality character veterans that we'd acquired over the past two seasons to let some of the younger players have a bigger role and for us we felt that it went according to our plan.
How tough was it to trade Erik Gudbranson?
In five years here, one of the most difficult phone calls because if anyone knows anything about Erik Gudbranson, his character, from the first day he came here he took a leadership role, he played hard. Any time anyone tried to take liberties with our good, young superstars he stepped in and made sure that they have to be accountable. He practiced hard every day. He did extra when he felt he needed to do extra. As a human being, you're not going to find a better person than Erik Gudbranson and at the same time, it was also about him getting a chance to have a playoff run.
What was behind the decision to trade Mike Reilly?
We know Mike came in here last year and we gave up a pick for him. He came in, he was solid. I think he started the year a bit slow, it happens with some players, but he molded himself … into a really reliable defenceman. All-around he was one of our better players through the year. You look at the pros and cons. For us, it was just a situation where we feel that Erik Brannstrom is going to be a really good NHL defenceman. We know we have a superstar in waiting in Jake Sanderson, and I say superstar, not as someone that is going to produce points but looking at the impact he's going to have on our team and when we're a cup contending team, how many minutes he's going to log for us. You put those factors together, and we have a few other defencemen in Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson that are going to be real good NHL players and we just felt for the return we were going to get, it was the right thing to do for our organization.
What went into the decision to claim Victor Mete?
We just felt that as a group here, you had a 22-year-old who's played 185 games, and from everything we're told, he's a good character person, wants to get better at his craft. He skates well and moves the puck. He's the new generation type of NHL defencemen. He might not be the biggest but he's definitely not afraid and we look forward to having him in our lineup.
What did you like about Mike Amadio to make that trade?
To us, it was a player that we had seen in the past. Our scouting staff liked him, our coaches had a bit of history with him. We felt that he is a very smart hockey player, he's got a good stick. He's got some skill. Sometimes things don't work out in certain organizations and sometimes players need a fresh start, as I think will be the same case with Victor Mete, and we just felt it would be someone to look at from now until the end of the year.
With the trades of some veterans, have the younger players exceeded expectations to allow them to be in the lineup every night down the stretch?
I think all of our young players exceeded expectations. All of them took a huge step in their development, in their output as far as production. They're not perfect; young players still make mistakes but they never quit. They play hard. They're learning about the NHL and what the NHL grind is all about especially in a 56-game schedule where you've packed in more games than in other years. We're really happy with how our young players have performed and now they will be given even bigger roles and we look forward to seeing how they rise to those challenges.
You got picks in 2022 and 2023. Do you feel those are strong draft classes?
This year we haven't been able to scout as much as in previous years just with Covid-19. We feel our scouting staff is one of the best in the league so when we get an opportunity to scout we feel we can make very good selections and add very good assets to our organization. Right now, I always talk to Trent [Mann] about the draft and he's got a great handle about what's going on this year, next year and almost to a point three years from now. He feels that the 2022 draft will be a very strong draft, top to bottom with lots of depth, so acquiring those picks [is good], and also, we can use those picks next year if we feel like we are missing a piece to be a better team. The 2023 draft looks like it's going to be a good one too so adding another pick to that situation.
What does Ryan Dzingel's future look like in Ottawa?
Ryan has been a great addition to our team. He's comfortable in Ottawa, he likes Ottawa. When I told him he was not going to be traded I think you could see a big sign of relief. I think there's something to be said about players that want to be in Ottawa and have success in Ottawa and at a certain point in time we'll sit down with his representatives.