The big news yesterday was Tim Murray speaking about contract negotiations with Jared Cowen where he mentioned that the two sides are still a "little bit far apart" and that there hasn't been any progress. He also went on to say that the club has made four contract offers and that the club can play without him.
Today is 6 September and training camp starts on 11 September. At this point while there is still time to get a deal done, there is a realistic chance that Cowen will not be present when the club opens training camp in five days. After that there are another four days until the first preseason game. In another 19 days (exactly four weeks from today) the Senators will open the regular season in Buffalo on 4 October.
Kyle Turris - In 2011, he held out until 22 November and didn't play until 1 December, missing 23 games. After having reportedly demanded a much higher salary, Turris eventually signed for 2-years and $1.4 million per season.
P.K. Subban - After the lockout ended, Subban held out for six games before agreeing to a two-year contract with an average of $2.875 million. However, the first year (which was going to be prorated anyway) was valued at $2 million and the second year at $3.75 million.
Ryan O'Reilly - He continued to play in the KHL after the lockout ended and eventually received an offer sheet from the Calgary Flames worth $10 million over two years. The Avalanche ended up matching the offer sheet and retained O'Reilly's services.
As a restricted free agent, Cowen does not have a lot of options with the club holding all the leverage. Cowen has a deadline of 1 December to sign a contract or he will be ineligible to play in the NHL this season. As a player without an NHL contract, he could also choose to play in Europe but that is very unlikely.
If he does end up agreeing to a short term deal, a holdout can be counter-productive financially given that Cowen will need to perform over the length of a short contract to earn a more lucrative deal on his next contract.
If Cowen does miss the start of the season, the most likely replacement for him would be Eric Gryba. If the holdout lasts all the way to December, Cowen would miss 26 games. Given that Cowen was paid very little last year after getting injured in the AHL, he wouldn't have earned a lot of money recently and would quite likely cave a lot earlier than 26 games. Ron Hainsey, possibly a pariah due to his role with the NHLPA, is also still available and would be a more than adequate player for the second pairing. Assuming it is Gryba that is initially given the chance, a group of Methot-Karlsson,
Wiercioch-Gryba, and some combination of Corvo/Borowiecki/Ceci Wiercioch-Phillips, and some combination of Corvo, Gryba, Ceci and Borowiecki would raise even more question marks on an already inexperienced defence. Still, biting the bullet without Cowen for a few games (or even 26) would be preferable to handcuffing the club long term, especially when they hold all the leverage.
If Cowen receives an offer sheet, the likely compensation for a deal Ottawa wouldn't feel comfortable matching would be a first and third round pick. The club can choose to accept the picks and then trade them for another defenceman if they don't like the unrestricted free agent talent. Alternatively the club can simply trade Cowen if talks completely break down.
In the end, the club and the player will likely reach a deal well in advance of the regular season and all of this will be quickly forgotten. Subban ended up winning the Norris Trophy after missing six games so it doesn't necessarily have to ruin Cowen's season. But the club really holds all the power here and they should be able to sign Cowen to a deal that they feel comfortable with.
Before getting to the links, we at Silver Seven would like to wish good luck to the New England Patriots, the official NFL team of Silver Seven Sens. [THIS IS A LIE]
General Sens News
- More on the Cowen situation with Bruce Garrioch believing the club would like to keep a deal between three to five years and with an annual salary under Marc Methot's $3 million. (Ottawa Sun)
- Wayne Scanlan believes there aren't a lot of spots on the Senators roster up for grabs at training camp. (Senators Extra)
- The Senators rookies opened the tournament in London with a 4-1 win. (Ottawa Sun)
- Ken Warren discusses another one of Ottawa's college signings, Buddy Robinson. (Senators Extra)
- Luke Richardson wants to establish a culture of winning at the rookie tournament. (Senators Extra)
- As part of the NHL media tour, Jason Spezza was among a group of players to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. (@NHL)
- Friend of the blog and elite story teller Speedy_McEachern will now be writing for Bonk's Mullet. (@BonksMullet)
- Head jerk Mark Parisi went over to fellow SBN blog Hockey Wilderness and introduced the Sens to them. (Hockey Wilderness)
Another shout out for our Silver Seven game nights, specifically the home opener. Email me at the address on my profile if you are interested. Payment is with Interac E-transfer.
- 17 October, 7:30 p.m. New Jersey Devils (home opener). I bought 40 tickets for this game, 37 have been accounted for. Only three seats left.
- 19 October, 2:00 p.m. Edmonton Oilers. There are 12 seats left and end of September deadline.
- 21 December, 2:00 p.m. Phoenix Coyotes. There are 11 seats left, end of November deadline.
- 23 December, 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh Penguins There are 7 seats left, end of November deadline.
All games will be in Section 323 and some where in Rows J, K, L and M. All games will be $40 (about $20 cheaper than if you buy the same tickets yourself).