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Senators interested in Vladimir Tarasenko

It’s been six years since the Ottawa Senators last made the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Their last playoff appearance came in the 2016-2017 season, when they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals in the second overtime in Game 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins went on to win the Cup in six games against the Nashville Predators.

Since that bitter defeat, the Senators have never returned to the playoffs.

That makes six seasons in which the Senators have languished at the bottom of the Atlantic Division.

However, it’s now been two or even three seasons since the rebuilding process was expected to be complete in Ottawa.

Yet every year, the team disappoints its fans, as the Senators fail to qualify for the playoffs.

The team’s general manager, Pierre Dorion, is obviously criticized for these various disappointments.

Last summer, however, Dorion pulled off an excellent coup, acquiring Alex DeBrincat for very little money.

By then, we had every right to expect a good season from the Sens, but in the end, they disappointed once again, missing the playoffs and finishing 6th in the Atlantic Division.

In short, for the past six years, nothing has gone right for the Sens, even if the organization’s young players (Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stützle and Josh Norris) are promising and developing well.

The addition of DeBrincat certainly helps the team, but we learned a few weeks ago that the former Chicago Blackhawks player won’t be re-signing with the Sens and wants to be traded.

This is very bad news for the Senators, who had pulled off a major coup by acquiring the young forward.

So, with DeBrincat expected to leave by the 2023-2024 season, the Senators find themselves with too few NHL-level forwards.

In fact, the Sens have only eight forwards under contract (adding Josh Norris, who is on the LTIR) for next season.

DeBrincat will leave, and Shane Pinto remains to be signed.

Pinto is expected to be signed, bringing the Sens’ NHL roster to nine forwards.

However, Parker Kelly and Mark Kastelic are more likely to be fourth-three or AHL players.

The Senators are clearly short of NHL forwards for the upcoming campaign, which explains the recent rumours revealed by whistleblower Elliotte Friedman.

Last night, Friedman reported that the Senators had had a conversation with free agent Vladimir Tarasenko.

This would mean that Pierre Dorion and the Senators are interested in the Russian forward.

At 31, Tarasenko could be a steal for the Sens, especially with the departure (which seems imminent) of Alex DeBrincat.

It remains to be seen whether Tarasenko’s demands are too high for the Sens, who have just over $10 million available under the salary cap, with Shane Pinto still to be signed.

In short, Tarasenko in Ottawa is a possibility, but it will take mutual interest and a contract with a respectable annual value.

It’s also worth noting that, despite the addition of Tarasenko, the Senators would still be missing a few NHL forwards, unless they decide to put their faith in youngsters like Ridly Greig, Egor Sokolov or even Roby Järventie.

In short, the Senators’ situation remains one to watch closely, as next season will once again be crucial in Ottawa.

The rebuild can’t continue.

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