Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion was recently a guest on TSN radio and said something interesting after trading popular Sens center Jean-Gabriel Pageau on Monday. Even more intriguing a comment when you consider all the franchise-defining Senators who have left before him. Dorion said, while speaking about defenseman Mark Borowiecki, he wants Borowiecki to be a “Senator for life.”
Some will ask what makes Borowiecki different from players like Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza? Lots, actually.
Borowiecki, 30, isn’t exactly a top-tier blueliner. His seeing personal highs this season with seven goals and he;s perhaps one of the few bright spots in the Senators’ season. That said, he’s never going to be among the highest-paid defensemen in the NHL, nor will he be relied on to be that player to contribute that key goal when it’s needed. Still, he offers something that Dorion sees as hard to find — leadership and the innate quality that describes a Senator. In other words, while other former Senators might have had those qualities too, the decision to keep Borowiecki or not is hardly based on his productivity.
Borowiecki started as not much more than a late-round draft pick meant to provide a physical presence in Ottawa’s lineup. According to Dorion, he’s become so much more. A fine fit and an example as a community leader, a hometown player that wants to stay, and a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent that probably won’t ask for much, Dorion wants him around during what might be a challenging rebuild. Every team needs a player like him.
He’ll finish the last of his two-year, $2.4 million contract this season and he’s likely to get another. It won’t come in much higher, but it should keep him around to set further examples for the new breed of Senators who the franchise hopes become the next group of Stanley Cup competitors.
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