Few people seem to know when a deal is going to get done between the Ottawa Senators and forward Brady Tkachuk. Some believe things are close, others suggest they aren’t, but everyone seems to realize that the two sides are running out of time if the Senators want Tkachuk on the ice for the regular season and if he’s going to be at camp at all before things get going.
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The latest reports note that the hold-up in contract negotiations seems to be the finer point of a long-term extension. While multiple media outlets report that both sides are talking daily, it’s the structure of a big contract that seems to be complicating matters.
As per the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, GM Pierre Dorion has been in daily contact with Tkachuk’s agents Craig Oster and Don Meehan. The Senators want a long-term, eight-year deal. Tkachuk’s people aren’t against it. Unfortunately, while the rumored eight-year, $64 million contract is probably accurate, it’s how the deal is put together that is creating issues. Specifically, it comes down to the bonus money involved.
The Senators do not want to pay out huge sums of money in terms of bonuses. Frankly, they’ve always been a team hesitant to throw big money upfront at anyone. Tkachuk’s camp believes he’s in that upper echelon of player who has earned the right to ask for it. It’s not atypical for deals like the one Tkachuk is likely to sign to include heavy signing bonuses. This puts the two sides in a troubling stalemate.
TSN’s Darren Dreger noted on TSN 1200:
I think when you get to this stage in the negotiation, everybody knows what the lines are, right? Ottawa prefers a certain amount of term, a long-term. They know what they like in terms of the money. They don’t like giving up the bonus money. So the structure of the contract has been a back-and-forth to be sure.
Pushing Talks to the Wire
Dreger couldn’t handicap how likely it was that a deal was going to get done before camp ended. He did say that both sides know time is running out and the Senators can’t just flop Tkahuck on the ice on opening night and expect him to be his typical dominant self. He’s good and he’s skating with Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to stay in shape, but that’s not the same thing as being ready and hopping onto the ice after a required quarantine.
At some point, if the finer points of a long-term deal don’t start to work themselves out, the Senators may have to switch to conversations about a short-term bridge deal. Dreger said, “I mean obviously, this week is going to be a crucial one, but to say, as we go into that new week that the deal is imminent, we’re not there yet.”
Dreger said, “If I were forced I would say there is a 60-40 chance that it gets done, but that’s an educated guess at this point.”
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