Update on Jared Cowen contract talks

The agent for restricted free-agent defenceman Jared Cowen says negotiations with the Ottawa Senators will soon pick up pace.

Update on Jared Cowen contract talks
Jared Cowen (Julie Oliver/OttawaCitizen)

The agent for restricted free-agent defenceman Jared Cowen says negotiations with the Ottawa Senators will soon pick up pace.

“It’s fine,” Rick Valette of Octagon Sports said Wednesday from his office in High River, Alta. “(The Senators) went through free agency, and they had a lot of things going on. We agreed early in July that we’d wait for a week or three and let things settle out.

“We have talked a couple of times, and we are going to move the process along now.”

Cowen, 22, was drafted ninth overall by the Senators in 2009 and signed a three-year entry-level contract in February 2010. He played one regular-season game that year, but was returned to his major-junior team, the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League, for 2010-11.

He cracked Ottawa’s roster and played all 82 games in 2011-12, but missed most of the lockout-shortened 2013 season following surgery to repair a hip labrum that had been torn in a game with the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators. He rejoined the Ottawa Senators in time to play seven regular-season games and 10 playoff contests.

In those 17 games, Cowen produced one goal, three assists and 31 penalty minutes.

Under terms of the collective agreement between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association, Cowen is a restricted free agent without the right to salary arbitration.

Valette said he and Senators representatives talked in generalities during a couple of telephone conversations, and he expected more talks in the next week or two. “Nothing really to report at this time,” he said.

The agent declined to comment on whether talks aimed at reaching a new deal for Cowen were focused on the so-called “bridge” contract common to NHL players who have played out their entry contracts, but aren’t eligible for arbitration, “other than to say that there are different options that we can look at.”

Generally regarded as a key component of the Senators’ future, Cowen is the only remaining regular not yet under contract. The website capgeek.com says the team has 22 players under contract for $50,877,500 U.S., with a $53,835,833 hit against the NHL salary cap due to contract structure.

The league’s salary cap for 2013-14 is $64.3 million, and the minimum per team is $44 million.

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