OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators have signed head coach D.J. Smith to a two-year extension.

The club announced the deal Wednesday, saying it will keep the 44-year-old native of Windsor, Ont., behind the bench through the 2023-24 season. Ottawa also holds an option for the following year.

Smith, a former assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs, became the 14th coach in the Sens' history when he was hired in May 2019.

He has a 48-62-17 record over his first two seasons at the helm, with Ottawa finishing second-last in the all-Canadian North Division last season.

Before jumping to the NHL, Smith served as head coach of the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League and guided the team to a Memorial Cup win in 2015.

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement that Smith has an "exceptional ability to communicate with our players, with the team's coaching staff and with our management group."

"He consistently has the team prepared to play hard and energetically which is what we want displayed as our identify," Dorion said. "He's very deserving of this extension."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2021.

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