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Staios 'exploring all options' ahead of deadline; Martin to coach out season

Jacques Martin Ottawa Senators Jacques Martin - The Canadian Press

Ottawa Senators president and general manager Steve Staios said Thursday he's been "exploring all options" to improve the team as the trade deadline nears on March 8.

Staios noted that adding experience could be a focus for the Senators, stating that complete 200-foot players are of interest moving forward.

“You can’t have enough leadership and experience,” Staios said. “That’s an area that I’d like to look at. Also, we’re looking at complete players as well, 200 foot players. Those are the types of things we’re looking at.

“The market will dictate. There may be an opportunity here at the deadline and if not we’ll continue to work on it if there’s an opportunity in the off-season.”

Despite winning their past two games, the Senators remain well outside the playoff picture, sitting 16 points back of the Detroit Red Wings for the final playoff spot. While the team is shaping up as seller at the trade deadline, Staios said he has not approached pending unrestricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko about waiving his no-trade clause. 

"It’s something we’ll continue to take a look at it," said Staios, who added he's been impressed by the play of the veteran winger. 

Tarasenko, who joined the Senators in the summer on a one-year, $5 million contract, was listed at No. 6 on the latest TSN Trade Bait board. The 32-year-old has 12 goals and 31 points in 41 games with Ottawa.

After Jakob Chychrun sounded off Tuesday over hearing his name in trade rumours, Staios said Thursday's he's disappointed the defenceman's name has been thrown around. He noted that he's not surprised other teams would covet Chychrun, but stated he remains under contract through next season and the Senators will try to find cap space for an extension. 

Staios added that he does not want to rush to a decision on any of the team's core players ahead of the trade deadline. 

“I don’t think it was fair me to get a full evaluation of this team until they started to have some stability in their play,” Staios said. “I don’t want to rush judgement on any of these players. Now, we’re getting a sense what this team is all about and I’m very encouraged by the last five games.”


Martin to coach out season

Staios said Thursday he expects interim head coach Jacques Martin to finish out the season before a search for a full-time candidate begins in the off-season.

Martin replaced D.J. Smith on Dec. 19 with the team off to an 11-15-0 start to the season. The 71-year-old is off to a 7-9-1 start in his second stint behind the bench in Ottawa. 

Replacing Smith came just over six weeks after the team fired general manager Pierre Dorion after the Senators were docked a first-round pick as fallout for role in the invalidated Evgenii Dadonov trade in 2022. Staios, who joined the franchise ahead of the season as president, was named general manager on Dec. 31.

The Senators are on track to miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.