Controversial Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk held a “townhall” style meeting with his team’s season ticket holders last night in which he took questions from the audience and laid out his future plans for ticket pricing, re-signing captain Erik Karlsson and ultimately getting the team back to being a Stanley Cup contender. But, as is often the case with the outspoken and unpopular owner, he did a much better job of putting his foot in his mouth than of calming fans’ fears.
Check out some of these quotes directly from Melnyk from last night’s event:
First up, don’t count on a Stanley Cup parade in front of Parliament anytime soon:
Melnyk then went on to address the elephant in the room: the future of superstar captain Erik Karlsson. It's not secret around the NHL that Karlsson's contract expires in the summer of 2019 and that he's eligible to leave the franchise as an unrestricted free agent. Should that happen, it would ultimately spell disaster for the Sens. Fans and analysts believe that the perennial Norris Trophy calibre defenseman must either be signed to an extension or sold to the highest bidder on the trade market this upcoming offseason... preferably the former. So, just how committed are Melnyk and the Sens to re-signing the biggest star in franchise history? Well... as you might imagine, it doesn't look good...
Outgunned? How can you be outgunned in a salary cap system? Literally every NHL team is playing by the same rules when it comes to what they can and cannot offer a player in contract negotiations. This is just Melnyk being cheap... surprise, surprise.
Sens general manager Pierre Dorion also spoke to potential negotiations between himself and Karlsson, as well, saying, "At the end of the day, it will be his choice. If we offer him a fair contract and he doesn't want to sign here, then we will have to look at other options. The ball will be in his court." How's that for encouraging words, Sens fans? Yikes.
Earlier in the day Melnyk was on TSN 1200 radio where he made a shocking admission that should delight Toronto Maple Leafs fans and give them endless fodder for chirping their Sens fans buddies. In discussing season ticket pricing and the Sens' difficulties in attracting people to games, Melnyk admitted that he was once a Leafs season ticket holder
That's right, Eugene Melnyk owner and president of the Ottawa Senators is actually deep down a Leafs fan. Do what you like with that information, Leafs fans.