Senators' new owner provides update on new arena, salary cap considerations

Michael Andlauer made the media rounds on Monday morning, providing some insight into his vision for the Ottawa Senators.

Newly minted Ottawa Senators owner Michael Andlauer shared his vision for the future of his new club on Monday, with plenty of insight into what could be on the table for the Sens. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Getty Images)

After his formal introduction to Ottawa Senators fans on Friday, newly minted owner Michael Andlauer appeared on multiple Ottawa radio shows on Monday to give fans a glimpse into his vision for the club.

Andlauer touched on a multitude of pressing topics for Senators fans, most notably his expectations surrounding a new arena, which has found itself as the focal point of the billionaire's early tenure.

"It's a no-brainer," Andlauer told CBC's Ottawa Morning when asked about the prospect of a new arena in LeBreton Flats, a location that has long been at the centre of discussions for the Senators' next home rink. "How we go about it is something that has to be done collaboratively. I believe the fans want it, so for me it's 'how do we get there?'"

Later, joining TSN 1200, he added an estimation that the arena would cost upwards of $900 million, while pointing to a potential structure similar to the one used in Edmonton that saw a public-private partnership in the building of Rogers Place.

"[It] has to make economic sense," Andlauer said "I know there's a desire. It has to be win, win, win."

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Additionally, Andlauer was pressed on the economic state of the Senators, particularly with regards to their spending up to the salary cap. Under the late Eugene Melnyk, the Senators were often constrained by internal budgets, which in turn cost them the opportunity to retain stars such as Erik Karlsson.

His answer may not have been exactly what some Sens fans were hoping for.

"I think at the end of the day, it's a matter of sustainability," he told CBC Radio. "Making sure that we have enough money in the coffers to pay our players and making sure that we're sustainable.

"I tell the players, it's not me that pays you, it's the fans."

Andlauer also finds himself joining the Senators amidst negotiations with one of their prized young players in Shane Pinto. The 22-year-old sniper potted 20 goals for the first time last year, and remains without a contract with training camp underway.

"The Pinto situation is a unique one. I don't know the last time Ottawa was at the salary cap," he said of the ongoing stalemate. "In talking to the players, we want to get Shane Pinto signed. We've put ourselves in a pickle with the salary cap so I guess it's to be continued."

While still months away, should the Senators fail to ink Pinto before Dec. 1, the University of North Dakota product will be ineligible to return this season. That was the case last year for Ottawa with forward Alex Formenton, who played in Switzerland's National League.

Solving that cap conundrum will be up to Senators GM Pierre Dorion, who by all accounts has the full support of his new boss. That doesn't mean changes couldn't be made down the line for the Senators' front office in a pivotal year to show progress.

Andlauer told "TSN Mornings" hosts that, in his estimation, his primary goal was to remain largely hands off and allow Dorion to do the job he'd been hired for. Adding to the front office, including one particularly intriguing name, could come later in the process.

"Daniel Alfredsson has always been a Senator. He's the greatest Sen of all time. In speaking to him, he's expressed a desire to come back," Andlauer told TSN 1200, though he was later unable to provide a timeline on when Alfredsson may actually be able to rejoin the organization. "That was music to my ears. It's only natural to have him. It's what fits."