Jared Cowen will join the Ottawa Senators in Saskatoon on Monday after coming to terms with the team on a new four-year contract.
Cowen, who had been working out in Saskatchewan while waiting for agent Rick Valette and Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray to bridge the financial gap that was keeping him out of training camp, will have his medical evaluation done there and could skate with the team as early as Monday morning.
“Yeah, I’m happy,” Murray said of the deal, which works out to an average annual value of $3.1 million. “I think it’s a number that we can live with and they can live with, so I think it’s a fair contract.”
Just 24 hours earlier, Murray was lamenting the fact Cowen’s camp seemed unwilling to move off its asking price, which the Senators felt was too high. Murray stopped shot of saying the most recent offer was a take it or leave it deal, but added the Senators weren’t inclined to budge much.
In the end, both sides moved toward the centre. Murray said Valette called late last night with a renewed sense of urgency to get the deal done and they agreed on terms.
He added he was glad the tough negotiation was behind him and that the team was looking forward to having Cowen join his teammates.
“He’s kind of a poster boy of what we want here,” Murray said. “He works extremely hard, he’s low maintenance, he plays hard and competes.”
The longer-than-usual bridge deal will end a year before Cowen reaches unrestricted free agency, which will give both sides some time to see what he develops into. The Senators believe he’ll be a key player for them for years, but his future earning power will depend largely on whether he can develop his offensive skills further. Cowen has six goals and 12 assists in 90 regular season NHL games so far.
Although the AAV is probably high for a player of Cowen’s experience — Murray himself said it was impossible to find comparables earning what the Cowen camp was asking — the Senators are rolling the dice that Cowen will quickly develop into a solid top-four contributor.
More to come…