SEATTLE -- Michael Andlauer, the new owner of the Ottawa Senators, is trying to avoid making hasty, emotional decisions about the future of coach D.J. Smith and Pierre Dorion's replacement as general manager in the wake of a disappointing start to the season.
Andlauer, speaking after the first of the two-day NHL Board of Governors' meetings here Monday, said he feels and understands the frustration from the fans about the Senators' 9-10-0 start, which has them in last place in the Atlantic Division, but that can't impact his decision making.
"It's a process," Andlauer said. "I'm the new boss. I'm looking at all our key employees and trying to understand and making sure that they have the right tools to be successful. But I can feel the fans’ angst."
Andlauer's purchase of the Senators was approved by the Board of Governors on Sept. 21, but his first season has not gone as planned so far.
Not only is Ottawa last in the Atlantic despite expectations to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, Dorion was relieved of his duties Nov. 1 and replaced by president of hockey operations Steve Staios, who Andlauer hired Sept. 29.
Dorion's departure came the same day the NHL announced the Senators would forfeit a first-round pick in either the 2024, 2025 or 2026 NHL Draft for their role in the trade of forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights on July 28, 2021, and the subsequent invalidated trade of Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks by the Golden Knights on March 21, 2022.
In addition, restricted free agent forward Shane Pinto was suspended for 41 games on Oct. 26 for activities relating to sports wagering.
Andlauer credited Staios for his role in trying to keep the Senators together through the turmoil and said he will be looking to hire a new general manager who can work arm in arm with Staios.
"I want to give Steve all the support that he needs," Andlauer said. "I like what they did in Montreal with [president of hockey operations] Jeff Gorton and [general manager] Kent Hughes working collaboratively. It's a big job, but they have to work collaboratively and think of the same mind, which is not always easy to do, but I think we'll get there. It's a process.
“Just like a new coach or whatever, you can't be hasty in your decision making. You've got to do it right. The decisions we make have to be in the best interest for the Ottawa Senators long term, not just tomorrow."
Andlauer is also focused on business decisions that will have a significant impact on the future of the Senators, such as securing a location and timeline for a new arena, and amenities that can be included in it.
He spent the morning before the Board of Governors meeting Monday getting a tour of Climate Pledge Arena from Tom Conroy, the senior vice president of operations and assistant GM of the Seattle Kraken's home building.
Andlauer brought two of his business development partners with him for the tour and said he was impressed by what he saw, from the wide-open spaces on the concourse levels to how recycling is handled in the 100 percent carbon-neutral building.
"He showed us pretty much everything, including the electric Zambonis," Andlauer said. "I got to learn a bit about some of the new modern arenas in the NHL, and this one is pretty special."
Andlauer has also gotten a tour of UBS Arena, the home of the New York Islanders, and is planning on touring Rogers Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers, when the Senators visit in January.
"We try to ‘R and D’ -- rip off and duplicate -- all of the best-in-class everywhere," Andlauer said. "And hopefully we'll be in position one day where we have a piece of land somewhere and we're able to do something pretty special for the fans."
He said there is no timeline for when the Senators will finalize the location for a new downtown arena. They're expected to play for at least five more seasons at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, Ontario, about 20 miles from downtown.
"Like I said only two months ago, I'm here to learn, learn about what's best-in-class and also understand what our fans want, what our politicians are looking for, timeline with NCC [National Capital Commission]," Andlauer said.
Other news from Day 1 at the BOG meetings:
-- The Board of Governors received an economic update that was not materially different from what they were told at their meeting in New York on Oct. 3, when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the projected revenue for this season is approximately $6.2 billion and that the salary cap would increase to between $87-88 million next season, up from $83.5 million this season.
-- Commissioner Bettman did a Q&A with Michael Rubin, the CEO of Fanatics, which will become the NHL's official on-ice uniform outfitter next season as part of a 10-year agreement that was announced in March. Brian Jennings, the NHL's executive vice president of marketing, said the Q&A was designed to give the members of the Board of Governors an idea of what to expect from Fanatics as a League partner.
"[Rubin] had a broad ranging conversation with the Commissioner, giving everyone the certainty that he's focused on this, he takes it as a privilege to be on the ice with us and it's going to be a big moment for him next year," Jennings said.
-- The BOG heard a presentation about the potential impacts of Artificial Intelligence on the business from Shelly Palmer, a leading expert in the field who is both a professor of advanced media in residence at Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and the CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting firm that helps major companies with their technology strategies.
-- The location of the 2024 NHL Draft is expected to be discussed during the meeting Tuesday, which will begin at 8 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET).