“We’ve got to work on a strategy, and we have, on how we’re going to deal with it, because we’ve got a bunch of young guys and they’re still growing and they’re good but they’re getting better. We want to be competitive and we want to be a playoff team.”
Melnyk understands you can’t move seven Canadian teams to the United States.
“The fact is I may not like it but that’s concession we have to do,” Melnyk said. “Nobody wins here. There’s no winner out of this pandemic. It’s one of the things we’d have to give up. You’re going to have to give up attendance, to at least the early games … From a hockey point of view, it’s exciting.
“We’re going to be playing a lot of Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg plus the other Canadian teams and that’s fine. It’s just from a hockey point of view, it’s a tough, tough, tough division. We don’t get to play the weaker teams. They’re all good. It’s good for Canada and maybe this is the year a Canadian team gets there and wins.”
The Senators have made a lot of changes and he wants to see his team take the ice.
“Gary and everybody are so focused on getting (a deal) done (to start the season),” Melnyk added. “You need everybody to step up and there’s stakeholders out there who aren’t being as co-operative as they need to be. I don’t know exactly who they are and he’s dealing with them.”
With a commitment from Melnyk to help this team improve, general manager Pierre Dorion, chief scout Trent Mann, head coach D.J. Smith and other members of the hockey operations department have spent the off-season putting the pieces in place to help the Senators compete.