Jared Cowen has had quite the interesting career so far for the Ottawa Senators. In his rookie season in 2011-12, he lived up to the hype as the 9th overall pick as he showed promise to become a solid top-four defenseman for years to come. However, three years later I would say 90% of Senators fans want him gone.
With the reports that Ottawa has received calls on Cowen recently, it is even more frustrating to see that Bryan Murray wants to hold onto a depreciating asset. While there may be some teams interested, Nichols from the 6th Sens brings up a good point:
@67sound wouldn't be 1st time Sens leaked "alleged interest" in effort to drum up interest knowing it'd get picked up by hockey news outlets— The 6th Sens (@6thSens) September 2, 2015
Murray has done this in the past with Colin Greening, Chris Phillips, and Chris Neil but they haven't been able to trade them. The team has been saying for the past six months that they don't want to give up on Cowen just yet because of the potential he has, and I think they sincerely mean that. I disagree that he has some potential, and personally I would have traded him at the trade deadline in March.
He has two years left on his big contract with a $3.1 million cap hit, although he is making $3.7 million and $4.5 million in those years, respectively. That's quite the hefty cap hit for a defenseman that might be a third pairing player on a tight budget team. I don't think they can afford to wait any longer with him, as if he plays just as bad as he has in the past two years he will have no value at all.
I have talked extensively in the past about his poor play, and this number speaks for itself:
"Youth and upside"... Cowen has never had a positive dCorsi impact... -90.94 combined over last two years. https://t.co/Rsh0LtbfPE— Stephen Burtch (@SteveBurtch) September 2, 2015
You can guess what I would do with him if I where Murray, but the whole point of the weekly question is to see what you would do. I'm not here to change your opinion this time around, as the weekly question is all about the readers thoughts. There are a few options available regarding Cowen, and I'll go through them here.
Trade Before The Season
This may be a bit hard because most teams rosters are set, but it's not impossible. If teams really are calling Ottawa then I would assume that a deal could happen if Murray is willing to negotiate. This would open up some more cap space for Ottawa unless another contract would be coming back. I wouldn't expect more than a draft pick if he were to be traded right now.
Keep Him As 7th/8th Defenseman
This probably isn't ideal as his value will go down no matter what. He wouldn't be happy at all either, as he would end up playing just a few times a month.
Play Him On The 3rd Pairing With Mark Borowiecki
It seems like Borowiecki is a lock on the third pairing, whether that's deserved or not. Cody Ceci plays well with Patrick Wiercioch, so Cowen's one spot would be with Borowiecki. It wouldn't be terrible to have him playing low minutes every game, but I think a more well-rounded partner would better suit him. If he plays better, then that's fantastic. In fact that would be the best case scenario.
Let Him Try, Trade Him If He Stumbles
Perhaps (hopefully) Ottawa has a short leash with Cowen. Maybe he will play the first few months with the team but show no improvement and then Murray decides that he won't become the player they hoped he'd turn into. This is a plausible scenario, as the team probably feels like they owe him one last shot.
Buy Him Out After Next Year
If we're assuming that he makes no strides this year and he's still on the team, he will be an even bigger issue for Ottawa. A buy out would have to be on the table next summer unless he gets better, as the team simply can't afford $4.5 million of negative production. This was an option this summer as well, but there was zero chance that this Senators management was going to do that.
Send Him To The AHL, Let Others Play
If he has no value left, then putting him in the minors might be the best option. That way someone like Fredrik Claesson can come up and try to impress the team, plus perhaps a team could claim him on waivers (although I doubt it).
Of course we all want Cowen to succeed. I don't like being singling out certain players, but his play has been an issue for the team. Him having success may not be realistic, and tough decisions have to be made.
I can guess what options will have more votes, nevertheless I want to see your input on this. For the poll, answer the question: what should Ottawa do with Jared Cowen? However, in the comments I'd like to see what you think Ottawa will do, because there will be a difference between those two most likely.
Thanks for reading!