TSN is reporting that the Ottawa Senators have re-signed defenceman Filip Kuba to a 3-year, $3.7M per contract extension. It's a hefty raise from his $3M salary this season, but far below the $4.5M that he was apparently looking for.
|2008 - Filip Kuba||54||2||27||29||8||24||2||0||0||0||91||2.2|
Kuba has been the Senators' best defenceman this season, but--realistically--that hasn't been too difficult. Still, the Senators have been looking for a puck-moving defenceman, and Kuba has been a half-decent fill-in while Ottawa looked for an elite player.
It is unclear how the Senators' defence corps will move forward at this point. All of Kuba, Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov, Jason Smith, Alex Picard, and Chris Campoli have one-way NHL contracts at a sum total of just over $14.2M, and Brian Lee, Mattias Karlsson, and Erik Karlsson may be looking for a spot on the Senators' d-corps. There still may be a trade to clear that log-jam before the NHL trade deadline, but right now there's quite a bit of traffic.
To be honest, this is a surprising move. In anticipation of a reducing salary cap, a three-year deal of this amount to Kuba, combined with the expensive long-term deals Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher, and now Pascal Leclaire have, the Senators will almost certainly be in cap trouble within the next couple of years. Kuba was also seen as one of the Senators' most valuable assets in building towards the future, and was expected to bring in a first-round pick--and possibly a prospect or another pick on top of that.
As good as Kuba has been this season, he hasn't been a number one defenceman, but now he's being paid like one. And the Senators have little to no cap room to sign a true number one defenceman now. Unless Campoli turns out to be the number-one puck-mover GM Bryan Murray expects him to be, or Kuba can really step up his play, this may not be the right move for the Senators at this point in time.
EDIT: Rumours suggest that Kuba's contract includes a no-trade clause. Although Kuba has been willing to waive similar clauses in the past, it seems that a team with as many long-term contracts as the Senators would like as much trading flexibility as possible moving forward.