Senators GM Steve Staios is ready to rock in Las Vegas

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Steve Staios is ready to roll the dice on the Las Vegas strip this weekend if he thinks it will help make the Ottawa Senators a winner.

While the Senators president of hockey operations and general manager has already closed a major deal in acquiring Linus Ullmark from the Boston Bruins, Staios told reporters during a Zoom call Wednesday that he’s still trying to find the right pieces for the club’s roster.

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Postmedia has reported that Staios is “open for business” as the Senators prepare for the first round of the National Hockey League draft Friday at The Sphere in Vegas and he has been busy working the phones.

“We have spent a few weeks looking for ways and opportunities to add some elements to what we feel are necessary,” Staios said. “Closing the transaction for Linus was a big step in that direction and we will look at opportunities for the future.

“There are conversations that have been going on for a while and some new ones are emerging. You never really know until you reach the finish line. It is difficult to hinder (a deal) or anticipate if something is going to happen before the draft.”


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Postmedia has reported that the Senators are trying to move speedy winger Mathieu Joseph before the draft ends Saturday afternoon. The club is also trying to determine what the market looks like for defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who has one year left on his contract at $4.6 million.

League executives say the Senators are looking for a first- and second-round pick or a high-end prospect in exchange for Chychrun. Staios is keeping his options open on the trade front and exploring every opportunity he has to improve the organization.

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“We look at all areas,” Staios said. “Sometimes the market determines whether it’s the right thing to do or not. You identify the player or players you want to inquire about and whether the value that’s being paid is something we’re willing to do.

“I don’t like to make deals just to make deals. We must be precise in what we are looking for and detailed in our approach. We will continue to work on it.”

One player not going anywhere is alternate captain Thomas Chabot. Staios on Wednesday debunked the rumor that the veteran defender, who has a 10-team no-trade clause on Monday, was available.

“I’m not sure where that came from,” Staios said. “It hasn’t been talked about even once. I don’t get distracted by many things. There have probably been rumors about every player on our team at some point. It’s the times we live in. I sympathize with our players, but there is no truth in that.”

The Senators have the No. 7 overall selection in the draft on Friday night, and Staios has been fielding calls from teams looking to move up. If that happens, he might be willing to move back a few spots, but that’s something that likely won’t be decided until the club gets the draft floor.

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Some of that could depend on what happens for the club and whether chief scout Don Boyd thinks moving back is the right decision.

Staios said no one really has a clue what direction this draft will go after Macklin Celebrini was drafted No. 1 overall by the San Jose Sharks.

“It’s just not as clear as in previous years,” Staios said. “We feel like at No. 7 we’re in a really good spot to be able to get a really good player for Ottawa. You look at opportunities and teams that aren’t in the top 10 are interested in getting into the top 10.

“We are willing to listen, but it has certainly been a different year.”

Once the draft is over, the club must also make decisions regarding the opening of free agency Monday at noon. Staios said he won’t buy anyone out during the window that begins Thursday, meaning Travis Hamonic will play the final year of his contract as a seventh defenseman.

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A decision also needs to be made on the future of defenseman Erik Brannstrom, a restricted free agent who may not receive a qualifying offer Sunday at 5 p.m.

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When Staios was asked specifically about Brannstrom, he said, “I’m not going to comment on that at this time.”

Everyone hears things differently, but I take that statement as a sure sign that Brannstrom probably won’t be brought back for $2 million next season, meaning he will either have to take a pay cut to stay with Ottawa or he will will do. released as an unrestricted free agent.

Postmedia has reported that the club has spoken to other teams about the possibility of moving Brannstrom and defender Jacob Bernard-Docker. The club has Tyler Kleven ready to make the jump from the minors.

This newspaper has reported that the Senators and center Shane Pinto are trying to strike a new deal but there is a “gap to be bridged” for that to happen and they are also discussing a two-year contract along with a five or six contract year. agreement.

“Shane knows what we think of him as a player and that’s what we’re working towards,” Staios said. “Hopefully sooner rather than later, but things like this sometimes take time.”

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