Welcome, my friends, to the dog days of summer. I don’t know if things could get any quieter in Sens land right now and frankly you won’t hear me complaining about it. I’ve learned with age to appreciate these times of introspection. After all, we get to indulge in yearly traditions like the top 25 under 25 and new series like the year in review. Pretty soon things will get so hectic that we’ll all go blue in the face talking about the Senators so in the meantime let’s just bask in the calm before the storm. Or feel however you want to feel. I can’t tell you how to follow your favourite team.
On unnecessary anguish
I know a lot of fans have felt anxious throughout the off-season because they had hoped Brady Tkachuk would get his extension signed early, and that hasn’t come to fruition. If it makes you feel any better though, Rasmus Dahlin, Quinn Hughes, Elias Petterson, Ilya Sorokin, Nolan Patrick, and plenty of other big names also still need new contracts. You could say that we still need to wait for the proverbial dominos to fall before we can realistically expect any news. If all of those players sign their deals before Tkachuk (and Drake Batherson and Filip Gustavsson) then we can worry about it next month.
On determining the precedent
Speaking of those proverbial dominos, you won’t find Andrei Svechnikov’s name on that list as he and the Hurricanes hammered out a long term extension. Most fans seem to agree that something similar in term and cap hit should work for Brady. I might expect a little more when it comes to cap hit or a little less term because Ottawa doesn’t do signing bonuses and they’ll need to compensate for that. I also believe Svechnikov has a little more offensive upside than Brady though so if you weigh that out with the lack of signing bonuses from Ottawa then maybe we’ll see something nearly identical between the two when it comes down to dollars and years. I think most fans would take it.
On keeping it all in perspective
I don’t quite know how this flew over my head for so long but I found it somewhat shocking to learn that while the NHL has a minimum team salary (cap floor), MLB teams can spend as little as they choose on their roster. We’ve all read countless articles about disparity and whether tanking to rebuild hurts or helps the sport and whether we need the draft lottery as a deterrent to promote competition. And while the cap floor means that the Senators actually have a more expensive roster than several MLB teams (think about that!) I would argue that recent iterations of the Ottawa Senators may have performed even better without a minimum spending threshold. Hear me out! Considering how often the Sens have brought in overpriced veterans who perform below replacement level to hit the floor, could a roster of replacement-level players on league-minimum contracts have won more games from 2018-2021 for Ottawa? Ya gotta ask the question. Or not.
On extinguishing the dumpster fire
In my newest instalment of Why Are We The Way We Are? I keep turning it over in my head how often I see fans asking the team to make any sort of splash in the offseason and I just can’t relate. I love the golden silence. After everything we’ve endured in the past four years, no news is still the best news. Give me a fluff radio spot from Pierre McGuire. We’ve earned it. After all the lawsuits and turnover and bad press, just let me enjoy following a boring team that casual NHL fans forget about.
On not fixing what’s only somewhat broken
And on that note, keep on not bringing in any new players. Yes I know you need to improve the roster to get out of the basement eventually but why not try your hand at addition by subtraction first? After some brutal personnel decisions last summer, I would love nothing more than a season spent doing an inventory of the internal system before getting aggressive on the market. Dorion and Mann have publicly expressed their excitement about the 2022 draft class (compared to the lackluster 2021 class) so hang on to your picks, keep the books clean, and don’t compromise the chemistry you’ve established.