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Pierre Dorion sees great things ahead for the Ottawa Senators, he just doesn’t know if he’ll be around to see them through.

The Senators’ general manager met with the media Monday morning and admitted he’s in a bit of a unique situation with new ownership set to take over the reins in the next couple months.

Dorion was named GM in April, 2016, and the Senators have only made the playoffs only once under his guidance – during his first season. If he were to stay in charge past this season, Dorion would be the first general manager in the salary cap era to keep his job after missing the playoffs for six straight seasons.

Once new ownership is in place, expectations will be high for this team next season after missing out on the final wild card in the Eastern Conference by just six points.

The 50-year-old Dorion said he’s met with a number of the potential ownership groups and outlined his plans for the future.

“For us, I think it’s to hit the next level as a team,” said Dorion. “I don’t want to make any bold predictions as far as next year, but I feel confident that we’ve built a good program here and I’ll be back.”

Dorion did walk back that comment a couple times, using the word “if” when talking about his role, saying, “I’ll let those people decide my faith.”

In a radio interview with the host broadcast later Monday morning, Dorion expanded slightly on his thoughts.

“I’ve known that at some point in time, moving forward, I could be the general manager, I hope to be the general manager, but there’s a chance I could not be the general manager and that’s okay because it’s part of the game,” he said.

There’s no denying the Senators are in a good position to take that next step Dorion speaks of, but it appears head coach D.J. Smith’s future could also be in question, even if Dorion returns as GM.

On Friday, Smith eluded to the fact that he was unsure about his own future with the organization owing to new ownership, and Dorion didn’t give his head coach a full endorsement on Monday.

“I’m going to sit down, obviously over the next little while, and debate everything internally,” said Dorion. “But I think what we’ve asked of him he’s delivered on and at that point in time I’ll make my recommendation to new ownership.”

Smith has one more year remaining on his contract, with a club option for 2024-25.

Dorion did confirm goaltender Cam Talbot will not return next season. The 35-year-old was acquired last summer from Minnesota in exchange for Filip Gustavsson. Talbot played just 36 games, posting a 17-14-2 record with a 2.93 goals-against-average and .898 save percentage.

The two sides discussed a new contract, but were unable to come to terms and so the decision was made to move on.

The Senators will once again be looking to solidify its goaltending tandem. At this point Anton Forsberg is the only goalie confirmed to be in Ottawa next season. The other could be an internal candidate, or someone acquired via a trade or free agency.

Mads Sogaard was called upon when both Forsberg and Talbot went down to injury this season and played well enough, posting an 8-6-3 record, but it doesn’t appear Dorion is convinced he’s ready to be a full-time NHL goaltender.

“We feel [Sogaard] is our goalie of the future,” said Dorion. “He’s someone that’s going to be able to take the helm at some point in time, but in everything you do you’ve got to show patience.”

In addition to goaltending, the Senators will look to shore up their bottom six. In a perfect world they would find the right group of players who can offer some grit, while also offering some offensive production, which was lacking this season.

Dorion also provided a couple updates on unrestricted free agents Derick Brassard, Travis Hamonic, Austin Watson and Patrick Brown. Nick Holden had already been told he would not be returning.

“We’ll see what happens through the summer and through his injury,” said Dorion of Brassard. “Left the door open for him to come back, same situation as this year, see if he makes it through a [professional tryout].”

He didn’t close the door on Watson, but it appears the Senators would only be interested in a one-year deal, while the 30-year-old Watson said he’s looking for a multiyear deal. Dorion said they would be interested in having Hamonic back for a one-year deal, and there could be a possibility of Brown returning depending on who doesn’t return.

Pointing out the positives of this season, Dorion was quick to note that numerous players, including rookie Jake Sanderson, Erik Brannstrom, Shane Pinto, Claude Giroux and Hamonic, all exceeded expectations.

Dorion couldn’t say enough about Giroux, who signed in Ottawa as a free agent last summer, and his contributions both on and off the ice.

In Dorion’s eyes, Tim Stutzle has become a superstar.

“I think [Stutzle] will be a top-five, top-10 player in this league,” Dorion said. “He’s 21 years old and he’s pretty good.”

Whether he’s back or not, Dorion feels confident this group will provide plenty of excitement in the country’s capital for years to come.

“Our fans have been patient through all this,” Dorion said. “I think for us the biggest stride we took is that we got to see how our players responded in playing really important games down the stretch … we’ve faced a lot of adversity in the last few years and I think it’s only going to make us grow for the long term.”

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