The Ottawa Senators are on a path to contend for the Stanley Cup, owner Eugene Melnyk said.
“We have turned the corner,” Melnyk said in remarks published in the Ottawa Sun on Sunday. “We just now need to execute on what we have. This is the team, with what we have right now, I believe can win a Stanley Cup already, and that’s without adding some veterans, which we plan to do.
“We’ll be a team that’s active at the trade deadline and not as sellers, but as buyers, just like we used to be.”
The Senators acquired goalie Matt Murray, forwards Evgenii Dadonov and Alex Galchenyuk, and defenseman Erik Gudbranson this offseason to help grow a young core led by 21-year-old forward Brady Tkachuk (89 points; 43 goals, 46 assists in 142 NHL games) and 23-year-old defenseman Thomas Chabot (119 points; 29 goals, 90 assists in 205 games).
Ottawa also had three first-round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft (forward Tim Stuetzle, No. 3; defenseman Jake Sanderson, No. 5; center Ridly Greig, No. 28) after finishing 15th in the Eastern Conference with a .437 points percentage (25-34-12) and missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a third straight season.
The Senators were awarded an NHL franchise 30 years ago Sunday to begin play in the 1992-93 season. Melnyk purchased the team Aug. 26, 2003 and Ottawa has since made the playoffs nine times, including a five-game loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final and pushing the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins to double overtime in Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.
“I didn’t show up in Ottawa 17 years ago just to be there, just to play around and be competitive,” Melnyk said. “If I didn’t believe I could win a Stanley Cup, I would be so gone and so quickly. I would have never bought the franchise.
“We are locked in for some success. We’ve rounded off the team really nicely. We’re well-positioned. I hope I’m right that we’re not just competitive, we can dream the dream. My objective this season is to allow people to dream the dream. The dream is that we win the Stanley Cup and that we were able to build this from scratch. We put together a great team, it was thought through, and it came through as predicted.”