On Friday, Tim Murray characterized talks with Cowen and his camp having entered a "stalemate". But at least according to Garrioch they were only about $1M apart, hardly an insurmountable gap.
So the deal gets done today, a not oft seen 4-year "bridge deal", $3.1M AAV. Year by year breakdown:
More yesterday from the Assistant GM (via SenatorsExtra):
"Our last proposal we think is very competitive, very fair...more than fair. As I told his agent, when I look at the comparables and that, the number that they're asking for I can't find anybody. And I understand that you have to add intangibles and all that into a proposal. But even with that we think that ours is way beyond any statistical comparables. And we've taken into account that he's a young player and he's been injured, but we're willing to pay for the future."
Looking at the contract signed today, I would tend to agree. For his track record, what Cowen got is unprecedented:
In the grand scheme of things $3.1M is not huge money, but in context Rick Valette did very well by his client here. Since Cowen has only one "accrued season", he will not be an unrestricted free agent when this deal expires. He'll be 26 then, and the Senators will still own his rights, while Jared will have the opportunity to go to arbitration.
But the Senators clearly like this player and trust in his development, Tim Murray today called him "a poster boy of what we want here". That he retains such high praise after a long and drawn out contract negotiation kinda speaks volumes.
Cowen should see close to 20 minutes a game this season, with 3+ on the penalty kill. As the de facto second pair, Cowen and Wiercioch will actually have to start taking on some harder minutes. I think both are capable of taking that step, hopefully chemistry can develop as quickly and seamlessly as Methot and Karlsson saw last year.
To harp on the context bandwagon, you have to consider that Karlsson and veteran-stay-at-home partner will always get the lions share of top pairing even strength and PP minutes. If he is relied on more as a mobile shut down player with size as his SH TOI stat suggests, then the other columns arent expected to stand out. Since the going rate for ANY half decent physical defender is 3-4m per, it's not a stretch to pay this to retain a coveted draft choice entering his prime. It's not like they can replace his presence any other way at this value. If anything, I think his injury history played into the Sens benefit locking him up to a moderate term at a manageable cap number. The 3 guys I would replace him with on that list all have higher terms and cap hits. Now that fans are excited about Sens hockey again and Melnyk's casino fits are winding down, he can loosen up the purse strings again.