Pierre Dorion on Lehner, pending UFAs and more
Sens assistant GM Pierre Dorion spoke with the Ottawa media on Thursday after the team announced it had agreed to terms with goaltender Robin Lehner on a three-year contract. He fielded questions on Lehner's deal in addition to questions on the team's 2015 free agents and more.
Here's what he had to say...
On the Lehner deal:
We're very pleased to have this contract done. Getting a goalie of Robin's calibre signed for the next three years is a really good thing for our organization.
On Lehner remaining an RFA at the conclusion of this contract:
It helps, what we did here is we bought two years of arbitration rights and he still has two years left before he becomes a UFA so it allows us to have a very good bridge contract with someone we feel can win games for us and be an important part of our team in the future moving forward. We're very happy with this deal.
On expecting Lehner to push for the top goaltending job going forward:
For sure, I think Robin is still developing and we forget he just turned 23 and played as a 22 year old last season. He has accomplished a lot in our organization, winning the Calder Cup at 19 years old, being a playoff MVP. Having ups and downs here with our team I think he has shown great maturity, I think the fact he is spending most of the summer here in Ottawa shows he is ready to take on a bigger role. I think just having him signed for the next three years is a really good sign for us.
On the negotiations with Lehner:
Yesterday Bryan and myself sat down with Newport — Don Meehan, Pat Morris, Mark Guy and Craig Oster came up here. We had a really productive lunch and got the parameters for Robin's deal done yesterday. As I told you guys at Sens House, we were pretty close, we weren't that far apart last week. We said we'd give it a week break and when I talked to Craig he said he was coming up here so we figured we'd do it in person and we were pretty much close to it yesterday afternoon and got it done this morning.
On negotiations with MacArthur and Ryan who are also represented by Newport:
We had really productive talks on Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan. As you guys know these deals don't get done in a day, Bryan had preliminary talks with the agents beforehand and yesterday I'd call it productive talks on both sides of things. I'd like to get these deals done yesterday and I'd like them done July 1 at 12:01 pm but they take a little while. They're guys that are both going to be pending UFAs so you have to make sure it works well for both parties.
On negotiations with Marc Methot:
We had discussions last week and yesterday on my way home I talked with Larry Kelly under Bryan's guidance, I let Bryan know how the talks went yesterday concerning Marc. It's the same thing and I think Marc has said it, Marc wants to be here and we want to keep Marc as part of our core of veterans. We feel that Marc has been a valuable player for us for the past two seasons and it's just finding a way where we can make it work for them and for us and trying to stay fair and within our budgets.
On Craig Anderson:
Under Bryan Murray's guidance he has let me know I can talk to Justin Duberman, Craig Anderson's agent, I did talk to Craig a few weeks back and said we'd like to get Robin Lehner done first and then we could talk about an extension. That's something we're going to look at in the next few weeks. Again, I think we've got to look at having both of these goalies here is only a bonus for us. We have two guys who are quality NHL goalies and I think it worked well at the end of last year. People don't talk about it and people might say it the games didn't mean much but in the last 10 games of the year we were the best team in the League and we weren't that far off the playoffs. I think all we've done this year is upgraded our team. I think it only helps us having a quality tandem of Craig and Robin moving forward and if it stays like that for one year it stays like that for one year. If it stays like that for more than one year we'll see where we go with it.
On potential trades:
Training camp doesn't start until, if I'm not mistaken, September 18 and right now there's no deadline. Our first exhibition game is September 22. We're still talking, we're still talking a few specific deals because teams' salaries aren't being traded, nobody is in camp. We're still talking possible trades.
On where they'd like to improve the roster:
You know what? I'm looking at my big board in my office here and I like our team. You hear all these things and I think people don't realize what type of player we got in Alex Chiasson, people don't realize that David Legwand played against every number one centre in the Western Conference for I don't know how many years. I think Mika is ready to take the next big step. Our defence can't be as bad as they were last year, sometimes you have bad years and a few guys had questionable years last year. I think our goalies — having these two guys — are going to be good. I really feel confident with the team we have. If we can upgrade ourselves — we always say we want to get a top four defenceman or a top six forward — but having this team we have right now going into camp, I really feel confident that we're a playoff team and I really feel confident that we're a playoff team that can contend. I think we have young guys that are ready to take the next step and we have veterans that are hungry. I feel really confident about our team and what we have on paper moving forward.