Dorion Speaks – On Promotion To AGM

Following his promotion to one of Ottawa's two Assistant GM positions, Pierre Dorion made an appearance on TSN1200's In the Box to discuss talk about his new responsibilities and obligations.

If you want to listen to interview in its entirety, you can click on the link in the first paragraph of this post or you can stream it via the embedded the audio at the bottom of the post. 

As always, my thoughts are in bold.

On Tim Murray moving on but Pierre and Randy just essentially absorbing Tim’s duties…

“Yes, that’s very fair (to say). I think both of us are going to continue our duties. Tim had quite a few duties on his plate, and as far as GM in Binghamton, Randy will take care of the minor league team. And as far as doing contracts, we will both split that. Randy will be doing some contracts – more entry-level contracts and I’ll probably be doing bridge contracts, but all in accordance with what Bryan Murray decides.”

On the relationship with Ottawa's other newly appointed AGM, Randy Lee, and what Randy has done over his time…

“I think working with Randy, we both, when Brent Flahr left at the time, we both got promotions. Him to Director of Hockey Operations and Player Development and I got promoted to Director of Player Personnel, so we’ve really worked well the both of us together. My respect for Randy is tremendous. We always talked in the office about when we were preparing contracts for Tim or helping Tim along with some of his things that Tim was doing. We always worked well together, but let’s not fool ourselves, having Bryan (Murray) stay on for two years and another two years is probably the biggest thing for the Ottawa Senators today.

On how special it is to work up the ladder for the hometown team…

“Yeah, I think it’s special. I think the three of us come from different backgrounds. None of us have played in the NHL, although I think we know the game very well. We understand the game very well and we understand the intricacies of the game, so I think all three of us being from the area and trying to give back to the community and trying to give back to the organization, I think it’s great. I think when you grow up with a team and all three of us have seen the team, the Ottawa Senators, from the first year when they were an expansion team to what we are now, it’s a great credit to a lot of our fans and what we are trying to do as a management group.”

On what’s been the secret to the Senators and how they’ve been able to bring along so many players and develop them as NHL players…

“Well I think it all starts with the foundation of our organization and that’s our scouts – full-time and part-time scouts. I think when Bryan came onboard, he made it clear that the scouting was going to be a very big part of the organization. And when the CEO of the hockey (team) tells you that you have to build something good here, I think it gave value to our scouts to go and work hard. When we came onboard, I can say that Tim and Randy and myself, there were only two full-time scouts with the Ottawa Senators. And Bryan had a vision and it was very important for him to value the importance of the scouts – give them added responsibilities, add more full-time scouts, add more full-time crossover scouts. So I think that Bryan has given us the resources, Eugene has given us the resources to allow us to go and do those things. From there, I think what Randy does in terms of development is pretty special. We’re on our prospects. I think Randy has a weekly email with them in which he talked to both Tim, Bryan and myself in the past. So I think we’re very united. We know what our players are going to be from the moment that we draft them. I think working as a team has been very important and having the resources to do so – you know, starting with the scouting staff. This morning, before it was announced, I sent all our pro and amateur scouting staffs just a little note thanking them all because they’re a big part of myself and Randy getting this promotion.”

Too often we evaluate management groups on their transactions, signings and trades but in this case, not enough credit is given to: Bryan Murray for convincing management not to shortchange the amateur scouting process and player development routes; and Eugene Melnyk for investing the resources instead of simply pouring money into payroll. It's worth noting that Melnyk has talked about and prided himself on allocating more money into than scouting and player development, but in listening to Randy Lee, Lee noted that the Senators do have one of the smallest staffs in the entire NHL. 

On leaving no stones unturned when it comes to player development…

“I think when someone steps into a pro organization, how you think you know a lot, but really, you don’t know anything. I think having Randy there, it really helps with their development and we have guys like Chris Schwarz that’s really good. We have Mark Power that helps them with their skating, so having quality people around, I think helps. What we try to do is when we draft, and not that it’s a big secret, is that we try to draft people with character. Bryan has told me from day one, ‘Pierre, let’s draft good people.’ And I’ve said this in multiple interviews, we want to have good people in this organization. So I think having the combination of high character players that are drafted and are prospects, these players should be able to improve and get better.”

On two deadlines when assessing this team with the Olympic break and the trade deadline…

“I think there’s still one big deadline – which is the trade deadline – but, what we are going to do with our meetings this week is, we’re going to assemble the whole scouting staff, all of our hockey people, we’re all going to be together. We’re going to discuss our team. We’re going to discuss our prospects. We’re going to discuss obviously Binghamton, where we think we’re heading as a team, how we think we can get better. There are some meetings with pro scouts where we bring up certain player names that we think might be on the market or how they could be able to help us. And for the amateur scouts, what we look at is building our list towards the draft. Is it worth it trying to get another first round pick because we gave up our first round pick this year? These are the things we look at. We’ll be together for a week, so we have some good and healthy discussions. Being around the Murrays now for quite a few years, I wouldn’t say we talk hockey 24/7, but when we’re not sleeping, we’re talking hockey and that’s a great thing to be doing.”

On moving young players and opening up trade possibilities…

“I think it will. If you look at what we’ve done, even just in the past year, trading some younger assets for a more established player like Bobby Ryan, I wouldn’t say that that’s something that we’re going to do with every trade that we’re going to do, but I think, we have a lot of quality prospects within the organization and if we think we can improve at the present time and make our playoff run or eventually make a stronger playoff run and maybe go longer in the playoffs, I think that would be something that we would look at. But, I think you have to always be careful. Younger players, they need time. Some younger prospects are more ready to step in after a few months, like Cody Ceci, and others take a bit longer. So I think you always have to be careful in your own personal evaluation on how you do things within your own organization.”

On parlaying young assets to get a quality younger player…

“Well, I think it’s a case-by-case scenario. I wish I could tell you, ‘Yes, for sure. We’re going to do something that you’re talking about.’ But, if it’s a quality rental, maybe we’ll go in that direction. But I think, you have to evaluate and that’s what I think we’re going to do this upcoming week – evaluate case-by-case scenarios.”

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