Melnyk liking Senators' rebuild: Nobody has 'gutted a team the way I did'
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk took a big gamble in deciding to rebuild his team from scratch over the past three years, and he's hoping it'll pay off.
"Nobody's done what I did. I don't care what anybody says," Melnyk told the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch. "Nobody has gone and gutted a team the way I did. We made a list … the top six guys gone. Show me a team, in any sport, where the top six guys are gone. This was specifically designed. You had to be a certain age to be part of it."
He added: "We just had to put our chin up, take all the crap, and, in the end, just hope that you're right. If you're right, you're the king of the day, and if you're wrong, you're the bum of the day."
After the Senators fell one overtime goal shy of reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2017, Melnyk and general manager Pierre Dorion decided to completely overhaul the team and start anew. Ottawa has since traded all its top players from the 2016-17 season, including Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Kyle Turris, and Derick Brassard.
The Senators have done a neat job drafting prospects over the past few years. Dynamic defenseman Thomas Chabot, brash forward Brady Tkachuk, and 2020 third overall pick Tim Stuetzle are projected to lead the team for years to come.
Ottawa also added some savvy veterans this offseason, including forward Evgenii Dadonov and goaltender Matt Murray. With a plentiful group of prospects and some experienced leaders, Melnyk has high hopes for his team's future.
"Our scouting group is second to none," Melnyk said. "The beauty is we've got new, fresh blood coming in every year for the next five years with just what we've drafted so far. We've got some great talent."
Melnyk continued: “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."
Melnyk has previously stated he believes his team will win a Stanley Cup in the next four years. The Senators are set to boast one of the league's youngest, most inexperienced lineups in 2020-21.
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