While forward Brady Tkachuk continues to be a force for an unexpectedly competitive Ottawa Senators team, he’s doing his best to avoid answering too many questions about his future with the organization. Any discussions he may or may not be having with the franchise about a long-term extension will have to wait because he’s got bigger things on his mind.
No doubt, Tkachuk will be a key long-term piece for the Senators but the two sides are not rushing into contract talks. Tkachuk will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season but he contends he’s in no hurry to get a deal done and spoke with the media about that on Wednesday.
Chatting with The Ottawa Sun’s Ken Warren, Tkachuk said he’s not worried about his next deal, even if he likely to become the highest-paid player in franchise history. He said:
“We’re not really talking about (a new contract). I don’t think that’s the focus for both sides. Our goal right now is to do everything we can to make the playoffs.”
Tkachuk understands this is a weird time to be a free agent, especially if he’s looking at an extension as big as his could potentially be. He’ll need to decide in a flat salary cap offseason if he goes bridge deal or something longer. Still, he explained it’s not time to worry about that just yet. He notes:
“I love it here. I love the people here (and) the community. But where the world is at now, we’re not really talking about that. We don’t know how the salary cap is going to look for the next couple of years.
Best for Both Sides to Wait
If Tkachuk is happy and wants to stay, the Senators should trust that with all the cap room they’ll have, a contract for the 21-year-old shouldn’t be that complicated. The team has more than $34 million in projected cap space for next season and it will simply be a matter of how to use it.
They team can lock Tkachuk up long-term right away and spent big money putting that whole situation behind them for seven or eight seasons. Or, they can sign him to a bridge deal and use the additional cap space to find more bargains on the free agent or trade market and try to make the team as competitive as possible around him.
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