NHL News: Jake Sanderson, Bill Armstrong, Doug Wilson, and more

Today’s NHL News examines the big splash the Ottawa Senators made with a rookie contract extension, and the Arizona Coyotes announce big news regarding their general manager; meanwhile, a former 20-year hockey executive returns to the game after a few seasons away.

Whether you are into the latest trade buzz, signing news, and more, stick with The Daily Goal Horn.

All-Rookie Team defender Jake Sanderson inks eight-year extension with Senators

After just 77 games in the NHL, the Ottawa Senators secured the long-term services of Jake Sanderson, one of their most recent top draft picks, joining the team as the fifth overall selection in the 2020 Entry Draft. Statistically, the 21-year-old tallied four goals and added 28 assists for 32 points to register the third most points by a rookie defenseman in club history. 

Ultimately, Sanderson fits right into the team’s plans as they continue to assemble a contending roster, with other young guys like Brady Tkachuk (24), Tim Stützle (22), Erik Brännström (24), and Thomas Chabot (27), all key contributors to a new era in Senators’ history. Once his $64 million extension kicks in at the start of the 2024-25 season, he’ll become the third highest-paid player on the roster behind Stützle and Tkachuk.

Coyotes extend general manager Bill Armstrong to continue building a winning culture

Outside of the first few seasons in the desert, the Arizona Coyotes have not had a lot to brag about. Since relocating in 1995, the team has only advanced to the Western Conference once (2012), and because of that lack of success, they usually get good draft positions. Despite the on-ice product improving, the team’s successes get overshadowed by the owner’s inability to build a new permanent home in Arizona, with relocation potentially on the horizon yet again.

Fans of the Coyotes can thank General Manager Bill Armstrong for this turnaround, as he’s been able to draft players like Clayton Keller, Logan Cooley, and Connor Geekie. Furthermore, he’s brought some high-profile free agents to play with the kids in one of the warmest places for ice hockey. 

Although the team is 110-145-35 under his guidance, Armstrong recently found a good head coach (André Tourigny) to develop his prospects and rewarded him with a contract extension earlier this summer. Realistically, it won’t matter where the Coyotes play their home games; their executives are building something special and will be together for years. 

Hockey Hall of Famer Doug Wilson returns to the NHL in a new executive role

Arizona Coyotes tempe
Oct 14, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; The Arizona Coyotes logo is reflected on the ice prior to the game against the Boston Bruins at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

For 16 seasons from 1977 to 1993, Doug Wilson played 1,024 games with the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks before retiring as a one-time Norris Trophy winner. Almost immediately upon hanging up his skates, he got involved with the Team Canada Junior Program, eventually becoming the Director of Player Personnel with the Sharks in 1997. By 2003, he earned a promotion to general manager, a role he’d hold until 2021, when he stepped down, citing health concerns. 

After just a couple of seasons away, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that Wilson is coming out of retirement again to serve as a senior advisor of hockey operations. Ultimately, this hiring signals that the Penguins owners are still tinkering to ensure the franchise continues to contend with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang in the lineup. Unfortunately, their franchise-record 16-year playoff streak ended last season, so sweeping changes came within management, with Wilson’s hiring being the latest move. 

Former Stanley Cup champion Michael Del Zotto announces retirement after 14 seasons

The NHL Alumni group keeps growing as the summer has rolled along, with Michael Del Zotto announcing he’s retiring after 14 seasons in the league. As a former first-round pick (20th overall) of the New York Rangers, he played 736 games with them and several other teams, including the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, and most recently, the Senators in 2021-22. 

Additionally, in 2018-19, Del Zotto was a member of the St. Louis Blues, who won the Stanley Cup that spring, getting his name on the silver chalice. Realistically, it could have been smoother sailing at the end of his professional career, where he bounced around three franchises in the AHL, last appearing in the NHL over two years ago. However, the 33-year-old retires with 63 goals and 199 assists for 262 points and All-Rookie honors in 2009-10. Interestingly, he becomes the second former Rangers draft pick to put away his gear after Carl Hagelin retired on August 30.