Hiring Travis Green is Michael Andlauer's First Major Test As Owner Of The Ottawa Senators

Michael Andlauer mostly sat back and learned during his first season as owner of the Ottawa Senators. Hiring head coach Travis Green is the first major move under his ownership with his personel.
Philadelphia Flyers v Ottawa Senators
Philadelphia Flyers v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

In the classic sitcom “Seinfeld” Jason Alexander’s character proclaimed that it was “the summer of George." In Canada’s capital, it’s the “summer of Michael”, Michael Andlauer that is, as this is the first offseason where he is the owner of the Ottawa Senators. The Senators missed the playoffs for the sixth straight season in what was supposed to be a year where they at least took a step forward.

Hiring Travis Green is Michael Andlauer's First Major Test As Owner Of The Ottawa Senators

Ottawa’s offseason is kicking off with their new coaching hire Travis Green who was hired after serving as an assistant, and then interim head coach, with the New Jersey Devils. The hiring of Green is arguably the first major move of Andlauer’s ownership. Green previously had unspectacular stops for multiple season as the Vancouver Canucks head coach and finished his short head coaching tenure in New Jersey with an 8-12-1 record and out of the playoffs. The only time Travis Green was head coach of a team that made the playoffs was in the 2020 NHL playoff bubble.

Andlauer formally became the Ottawa Senators owner on September 21st. He inherited a roster and front office constructed by its former ownership. How was Andlauer welcomed into the league? With the seeming one two punch of the news his team would lose a first round draft pick for its role in Evgeni Dadonov trade debacle followed a few weeks later by Shane Pinto’s suspension. Both were curveballs to be sure, but both were consequences for things out of Andlauer’s control.

The closest thing Andlauer had made to a major personnel decision was with Steve Staios. Staios was hired by Andlauer as president of hockey operations just over a week after the NHL board of governors approved Andlauer as an owner. Staios became interim general manager after Dorion was relieved on November 1st. The “interim” title was taken away on December 31st. Andlauer had said earlier in the month in an interview with NHL.com that he was looking for a new general manager to work “arm in arm” with Staios.

The same article had Andlauer preaching patience for the Senators rebuild, as well as looking for a new arena in downtown Ottawa, instead of rushing any major moves. Waiting until the offseason to hire a new coach fits that mindset, although it’s a very common practice for coaching vacancies in the NHL. The bigger question Ottawa fans probably want to know is if Andlauer will open the checkbook and spend more money than the previous, and famously stingy, owner the late Eugene Melnyk. Those questions will be answered more once free agency begins and will be seen as a referendum on Andlauer and Staios as well.

The article had Andlauer explaining how he visited and toured many newer NHL arenas to get ideas for what the Senators new potential building would look like. That arena tour could be the perfect metaphor for this past Senators season, from Andlauer’s standpoint. As they fell out of contention and had the Dadonov and Pinto drama come their way, Andlauer sort of just sat back and watched and learned. They went through the motions of being sellers at the deadline once again, but Andlauer and Staios never made any major pivot to turn this season around once the loses started piling up. Call it a “wait and see” with the changing of the guard.

Head coaching hires are more of a thing that falls on general managers instead of owners. Owners do have a lot of direct and indirect control in the process, however. Even assuming that Andlauer has no say in the manner ignores the fact it was a hire Andlauer himself made, Steve Staios, in charge of the hiring process. Even is Staios was hired by Andlauer, his rise to Ottawa’s general manager was initiated by Dorion’s departure. The Travis Green hire is a product of the Andlauer Senators’, and his hires, entirely.

An introductory press conference is planned with Andlauer in town. Between their playoff drought and the continued quest for a new arena to replace Canadian Tire Center, Andlauer has work to do on and off the ice. With the Green hire the first major steps in the Andlauer era have begun.