The Ottawa Senators will not name a captain for next season, coach DJ Smith told the Ottawa Sun Thursday.
Ottawa hasn’t had a captain since Erik Karlsson in 2017-2018. The defenseman was traded to the San Jose Sharks after this season.
“I think everyone knows Chabot and Tkachuk are the bottom push guys,” Smith said. “I don’t see that happening this year. I see more of a group mentality where you’re going to have to have people with leadership up front and leadership behind. Part of the youth is maybe the coach has been a leader maybe for a year longer.
“They’ve had a rebuild, wins and losses, and they know what could happen next. It’s unfair to rush this at a guy, and that’s where we are. ”
The Senators (25-34-12, 0.437 percentage points) failed to advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs for a third straight season and did not make the Eastern Conference qualifiers as part of the NHL’s return-to-play plan announced on May 26. Picks 3, 5 and 28 in the 2020 NHL Draft, to be held October 6-7.
This is the first time a team has had two top-five caps since the New York Islanders (No.1 and No.5) in the 2000 NHL Draft. Ottawa acquired the No. 3 pick in the trade from Karlsson and the No. 28 pick from the New York Islanders in the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade 24 feb.
Smith said he had met with general manager Pierre Dorion and the Senators hockey operations staff to assess potential trades and free agents. The NHL Free Agent Marketplace will open on October 9. It was postponed from July 1 due to the break in the season due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
“We have a great opportunity to experience what all the top playoff teams are doing and watch some things we might want to change,” said Smith. “And then, finally, I’m here if Pierre has any questions about any free agents or anything.” It’s good to be back. Of course, when you get there in September, anyone who’s been in hockey knows you should be at the rink. ”