Scott Sabourin

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What is the Senators’ long-term outlook?

With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to review where each NHL team stands at this moment until the season resumes. Here we take a look at the long-term outlook for the Ottawa Senators.

Pending Free Agents

The Core

Outside of Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot, the Senators will be searching for a new core in the coming years. Due to the failures of the San Jose Sharks this past season, the Senators have two premium picks in the upcoming draft, including the second-and third-best odds to land the top selection per the current standings. In addition, they have six picks in the second and third round if they want to move up in the draft or acquire additional talent.

Similar to other rebuilding franchises, the tough decisions are looming. Their farm system has a number of potential pieces, but general manager Pierre Dorion needs to find a few difference makers.

Ottawa wisely signed Chabot to a long-term extension prior to the season and will most likely try to lock up Tkachuk this upcoming summer.

Colin White, a 23-year-old, has five years remaining on his contract upon the conclusion of this season and will likely play a central role in the years to come. For the next few seasons, the primary focus will be on player development not on-ice results.

Outside of Bobby Ryan’s contract which lasts until the end of the 2021-22 season, the Senators do not have a salary cap issue. Dorion could wisely use his cap space to acquire additional draft capital, or overpaid NHL players on the cheap as long as he does not exceed the internal budget.

While the Senators will not be making the Stanley Cup playoffs in the immediate future, they do have endless potential with a treasure trove of draft picks and valuable cap space. The biggest question ownership will face is if Dorion is the right general manager to lead them out of the abyss.

Long-Term Needs

The Senators have a need at every position. Chabot has proven himself to be an elite defenseman and Nikita Zaitsev is an NHL-caliber blueliner, but the team will need to develop or acquire a lot more talent.

Anthony Duclair is the type of player the Senators should be currently looking to fill their roster with for the short-term future. Ottawa could give players ample ice-time and special teams opportunities that other teams do not have patience for. Think of players such as former first-round pick Joshua Ho-Sang that are looking for a chance to prove themselves after a rough start to their career.

Long-Term Strengths

It was mentioned above, but the greatest strength of the Senators organization is the arsenal of draft picks and salary-cap flexibility. They have three first-round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft and 10 picks in the second and third round over the next two seasons. The decisions made this offseason and next will likely define the success of the franchise in the next decade.

MORE ON THE SENATORS:


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin on Russia Olympic ban; tough times in Hockeytown

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

Alex Ovechkin on the Russia Olympic ban: “It’s always disappointing to hear something like that. I hope everything’s going to be well. We still have a long time ‘til the Olympics to figure out what to do. What’s better to do. Hope everything’s going to be fine.” [Washington Post]

• USA Hockey named on Monday 28 players to the preliminary roster of its entry for the 2020 World Junior Championship. [USA Hockey]

• As the Senators continue their rebuild, Brady Tkachuk is front and center. [Ottawa Sun]

• Does Taylor Hall fit with the Islanders’ needs? [Gotham Sports Network]

• Things are going not so good in Hockeytown. [TSN]

• The proposed reshaping of the NBA schedule is something the NHL should be thinking about as well. [Featurd]

• Jordan Kyrou, who’s been nearly a point-per-game player in the AHL this season, has been called up by the St. Louis Blues. [Post-Dispatch]

• How a small dip in production for Claude Giroux means good things for the Flyers. [Broad Street Hockey]

• Neal Henderson, head of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, North America’s oldest minority-oriented youth hockey program, will become the first African-American to be enshrined in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame this week. [NHL.com]

• Can the Lightning’s issues this season be placed at the feet of Jon Cooper? [Raw Charge]

• Finally, meet Evan Yasser, a Devils fan on the autism spectrum who you might hear calling games some day:

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Senators’ Sabourin closer to return after scary collision

Ottawa Senators forward Scott Sabourin is closer to returning to the lineup and was able to take a huge step in that return on Monday when he skated with the team for the first time since he was taken off the ice on a stretcher following a scary collision in Boston.

Sabourin has been sidelined since Nov. 2 when he was injured on an attempted check against Bruins forward David Backes. It was an innocent looking play that had a horrifying result as Sabourin was knocked out, suffered a broken nose and a concussion, and had spend the night in a Boston hospital.

He spoke to reporters for the first time on Monday and talked about his progress.

Via the Ottawa Citizen:

“I’m feeling much better,” said Sabourin, who spoke to reporters for the first time since the hit, on Monday morning. “It’s been a little while here and I’ve been taking my time recovering but we’re taking it day-by-day. I’m glad to be out there with the guys and I’m looking forward to the future.

“(Next is) getting back to shape I’d say. Six weeks off is a bit of time so we’re just trying to progress by getting the legs back under me and getting the confidence coming along with it and then hopefully back in the lineup sooner rather than later.”

The next step for him is to be cleared for contact, which has not yet happened. There is still no timetable for that — or his eventual return — but the fact he is back on the ice and skating with the team is a positive step for him.

The 27-year-old forward made his NHL debut this season after spending the first six years of his professional career playing in the American Hockey League after going undrafted.

He signed a professional tryout contract with the Senators this offseason and did enough to earn a spot on the opening roster, scoring a goal in his debut.

Related: Senators’ Sabourin stretchered off ice following scary collision with David Backes

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Senators’ Sabourin to be released from hospital Sunday

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The Ottawa Senators are expecting Scott Sabourin to be released from a Boston hospital on Sunday, one day after he had a scary collision with Bruins forward David Backes and had to leave the TD Garden ice on a stretcher.

Sabourin gave the crowd a thumbs up as he was wheeled off the ice, and the other update the team announced on Sunday was that the 27-year-old suffered a fractured nose.

“Obviously you’re at a loss for words and it was pretty emotional on the ice at the time,” said Senators defenseman Dylan DeMelo afterward, via the Ottawa Citizen. “It’s just scary. Sabby has meant so much to our group. He plays hard, he plays the right way and he gives us energy on that fourth line. To see him go down like that, in the condition he was in, was very scary and very sad and we hope that he’s doing well right now. We hope he gets a speedy recovery … Anytime a guy is laying motionless in a puddle of blood, it’s pretty scary.”

Sabourin did provide an update from the hospital via his Instagram account:

Backes, meanwhile, was shaken up physically and emotionally following the collision and had to leave the game to due to an upper-body injury. According to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, the veteran is doubtful “for the next couple of games.”

MORE: Sabourin stretchered off, Backes shaken up by scary hit

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Senators’ Sabourin stretchered off, Bruins’ Backes shaken up after scary hit

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Ottawa Senators forward Scott Sabourin was taken off the ice on a stretcher after appearing to lose consciousness after a frightening collision with David Backes of the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

Backes looked shaken up emotionally (and possibly physically, as well) as both teams immediately looked concerned for Sabourin’s well-being. Fans in Boston were also clearly shaken up by the moment, as well.

Recent updates provide relatively optimistic news. Sabourin, 27, gave a “thumbs up” gesture while leaving the ice, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston passed along a note that Sabourin was responsive and showed movement in his extremities.

Later on, the Senators announced that Sabourin has been hospitalized, but was conscious and speaking with doctors. The Bruins, meanwhile, updated Backes as out for the game with an upper-body injury.

Senators forward Logan Brown is also done for Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury.

UPDATE:

“He was conscious leaving. I don’t know the exact injury,” said Senators coach D.J. Smith. “They’re going to keep him overnight, but he was conscious and speaking. We’ll know (Sunday).”

Sabourin posted this message to his Instagram account after the game:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.