Senators GM Bryan Murray steps aside, Pierre Dorion promoted

The Ottawa Senators will be under new leadership on the hockey operations side for the first time since 2007. Bryan Murray, the team's longtime general manager, is stepping aside into an advisory role, while assistant GM Pierre Dorion has been promoted to general manager.

Murray announced in 2014 that he is battling Stage 4 colon cancer. He has managed to maintain his duties through treatment, but it was widely assumed that 2015-16 would be his last turn at the helm for Ottawa. The 73-year-old, who also spent many years as a coach in the NHL, will maintain his role in advising Dorion and the hockey operations staff for the foreseeable future.

Dorion moves into the top job after nine years in the Senators organization. He’s worked his way up through a 20-year career in the NHL, starting as an amateur scout and climbing the ladder from one of the lower rungs.

With any change, Dorion may have some new ideas to bring to the table even though he’s been working under Murray for so long. We’ve seen assistant GMs promoted and make some significant moves right away to plot a course different from their predecessors. Brian MacLellan with the Washington Capitals and Ron Hextall with the Philadelphia Flyers are prime examples of that.

He’ll have a tough job to do as the team looks to get back into the playoffs after a disappointing season.

The team has some important restricted free agents to lock up including sniper Mike Hoffman and promising young defenseman Cody Ceci, just to name a few. Beyond that, the blue line could use some work as they try to continue building around the dynamic Erik Karlsson.

While it is probably time for him to step aside, Murray has enjoyed a truly remarkable career in hockey to this point.

Murray’s career dates back to the early 1970s when he coached Canadian junior hockey. He rose up the ranks quickly, going from the Canadian Junior Hockey League to the Western Hockey League for a year, then one year in the American Hockey League and from 1981 to now, he’s been in the NHL in some capacity.

Murray coached 17 seasons at the top level. His longest run lasted nine years with the Washington Capitals, but he also had stops with the Detroit Red Wings (his first year started the 25 consecutive playoff appearances streak the team extended Saturday), Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks and finally the Senators. He was behind the bench as the Sens made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006-07.  

He was also the Jack Adams winner in 1984 and helped lead the Senators to the Presidents’ Trophy in 2005-06.

In many of those stints, Murray spent time in a dual role, serving as GM as well. With the exception of the Capitals, he had multi-year stints in management. Unfortunately, over that span, Murray was never part of a Stanley Cup champion. However, there is a good chance he will end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame in the near future as one of the more respected executives in the game.

It is an end of an era, but Murray will remain with the team and help Dorion, who considers the now former Sens GM as his mentor.

Dorion promised to learn from the organization’s past mistakes and continue building around the nucleus of the team. It appears that Randy Lee will stay on as assistant GM with Daniel Alfredsson remaining on in a senior advisory role in hockey operations.

The new GM did not commit to the future of head coach Dave Cameron, who appears to be on the hot seat. Dorion said the new management team will meet with the coaching staff and make a decision at a later date.

The Ottawa Senators front office is going through a shakeup. (USATSI)
The Ottawa Senators front office is going through a shakeup. (USATSI)

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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