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Dorion’s Scouting Trip Through New York

Eyebrows were raised when it was reported by Arthur Staples that Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was in Brooklyn.

While it’s entirely possible that Dorion was simply taking in the game because he was in the area after spending most of the day augmenting his vinyl collection and searching for new plaid suit jackets in some vintage stores, once Dorion appeared the following night at Madison Square Gardens to take in the Golden Knights/Rangers game, it feels safe to assume that he was there on business.

The common denominator in both games is obviously the Vegas Golden Knights.

In an article for The Athletic this morning, Pierre Lebrun firmly believed that Dorion was at these games because it represented a rare opportunity for the Senators general manager to see Vegas in person.

It’s worth mentioning that Vegas plays the Senators on November 4th, so this could have been some advance scouting by the general manager, but Lebrun believes that this trip gave Dorion the opportunity to: 1) ask the Golden Knights whether they have any interest in goaltender Andrew Hammond (interest is not presently there); and 2) get a glimpse of Vegas’  “long list of pending UFAs, perhaps later in the season there’s a forward there that ends up interesting the Senators.”

Up front, James Neal, David Perron and Jonathan Marchessault are all slated to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season and each of these players represents an excellent secondary scoring opportunity for the Senators. Amongst Vegas regulars, only Cody Eakin averages more points per 60 minutes of five-on-five ice time than these three players.

Thanks to Vegas’ surprising start to the season however, it remains to be seen how eager the Golden Knights will be to sell. They are currently on a three-game losing streak, but if their unexpected competitiveness continues, it will either ensure that these players stick around or it could help their general manager George McPhee drive up his asking price.

The Senators’ scouting presence around the Golden Knights will be something to monitor moving forward, but it’s worth remembering that a heavy Rangers front office contingent — team president Glen Sather, assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld, hockey consultant Doug Risebrough and scout Gilles Leger — was present for Monday’s Senators game versus the Canadiens.

At the time, it seemed like most pundits were under the suspicion that the Rangers were there to scout the struggling Canadiens, but with Dorion’s presence at MSG on Tuesday, maybe there’s a chance that these two teams could be working on something too.

Other News and Notes: 

  • Over at The Athletic Ottawa, I wrote about the Senators’ third line and how Mike Hoffman and the Senators could benefit from being moved up the lineup.
  • Speaking of scouts, Postmedia‘s Bruce Garrioch reported that at last night’s game there were “there were were 22 scouts representing 20 teams — an usually high number, especially when there were 11 other games on the NHL schedule.”
  • According to ESPN.com‘s NHL attendance figures, the Senators have dipped below the 15,000 mark and are now averaging 14,988 fans per home game. Attendance usually picks up around Christmas time and the next few games look pretty full, so expect this number to climb over the next few weeks.
  • Fully recuperated after dealing with a viral illness that kept him out of the lineup for three games, Kyle Turris made his return to the lineup last night. In 16 minutes and 32 second of ice time, Turris was held scoreless and only recorded one shot on goal.
  • Over at the Eye on the Sens blog, Peter evaluates the performance of the players in Belleville.

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