Ken Warren of The Ottawa Sun took a closer look at what it’s likely going to cost the Ottawa Senators to get a contract extension done with budding superstar Brady Tkachuk. Noting the 22-year-old winger is only six games away from the end of his entry-level contract, what the Senators do here will speak volumes about the direction of the franchise.
In February of 2019, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk predicted the organization would be “all in” for “a five-year run of unparalleled success”. That run was supposed to start this season. While team success hasn’t come — the Senators have looked better in some games that many expected — Tkachuk’s personal stock has risen. He and Thomas Chabot are the building blocks for the Senators and Warren writes, “If the Senators and Tkachuk sign an extended deal that takes away years of unrestricted free agency, they could even go beyond the numbers in Chabot’s existing eight-year, $64-million deal.”
Tkachuk leads the Senators in scoring with 16 goals and 34 points this season. He ranks first in the NHL in shots and is second in hits behind only Florida’s Radko Gudas. To say he’s the perfect balance of skill and grit would be a fair assessment of his game. He’s clearly the most impactful player the Senators have and he’s making a case for being one of the bigger game-changers in the NHL.
He’s certainly growing as a player. Just recently, he talked about the Senators 2020-21 season and said he’s still taking away lessons despite the fact the team has been out of the running for a while. He noted, “It’s been a blast beating desperate teams… We’re learning so much.”
His competitiveness is infectious and for Sens fans, he is a Senator at heart and they certainly don’t want him to go anywhere.
A Couple Tkachuk Contract Scenarios
Back in December of 2020, GM Pierre Dorion said, “We’re going to see how it’s going in the NHL (economically) and then we will talk to him.” Obviously, since then, the NHL is still dealing with a flat salary cap.
Warren points out that the Senators go down the long-term road, buying Tkachuk out of years of unrestricted free agency. If they do so, it will cost the team a good chunk of change and likely bring him in somewhere around New Jersey’s deal with Nico Hischier (seven years, $50.75 million), or Winnipeg’s arrangement with Kyle Connor (seven years, $50 million). On the high end, the Senators might be looking at a deal similar to one the Colorado Avalanche signed with Mikko Rantanen (six years, $55 million).
The alternative would be a bridge deal where Tkachuk isn’t giving up unrestricted free agency years. He would maintain salary arbitration rights when the contract expires and that could mean a deal like Mathew Barzal’s with the the New York Islanders (three years, $21 million), San Jose’s Timo Meier (four years, $24 million) and Vancouver’s Brock Boeser (three years, $17.62 million) could be more realistic.
Perhaps Brady follows in his brother’s footsteps and signs a three-year, $21 million deal like Matthew Tkachuk did.
Tkachuk May Want to Wait
One of the decisions Tkachuk may need to make is when to sign. Some of that will depend on how badly he wants to stay in Ottawa. Some of it could be about waiting to see what other players sign for.
Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov and Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson are also due for big contract raises this offseason and, in many ways, are comparables. All have different games, but they are the two other most high-profile forwards coming out of their entry-level contracts. If they sign first, Tkachuk knows where he stands.
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