During the first intermission of this afternoon's Ottawa vs Pittsburgh rookie tilt in London, Tim Murray appeared on the TEAM1200 offering praise for Ceci, Lazar, Puempel and Prince, but the real news was the bookend to the interview when the topic turned to the matter of getting a certain RFA signed.
Cowen stuff starts below @ 7:22:
And if you'd rather read, my thoughts in bold.
Tim on where things stand...
"It's just a process. It's just back and forth. And sometimes you get to a number quickly, and other times it takes time. There are deadlines coming up, and I'm sure we'll talk when we're here this week, and I'm sure we'll talk again when we get back to Ottawa. So there's really no progress per se...because umm we're just a little bit far apart. And I think the more you talk the closer you get."
No reason for Cowen to sign a deal he doesn't like, but if it gets to the point where he's missing games this will be one of the stranger holdouts I can remember.
Tim on any hangups about term...
"If you can get your right number, and you believe in the player, I don't think there's any issue long term. That's our job to judge who's going to be a player down the road, that's what we're doing here at this camp. I think we can do that with our own players, you have internal discussions and you decide who you want to take a chance on long term. And there are certainly players you wouldn't do that with. I can say straightforward that with Jared Cowen, we as an organization have no problem going long term with a kid like that. We know he's a tremendous kid, we know he's a one hundred percent solid citizen, and we know down the road he's gonna be a hell of a player. But you have to be careful, and you have to be sure in your mind that the guy's got the character enough to handle that 7-year or 8-year term and we've seen lots of mistakes. But I think that the onus is on the organization too to make good decisions on which player should get that, and certainly not every player on your team should nor deserves a long term contract."
I wrote a while back that if the Senators chose, the market for a defenceman of Cowen's caliber and experience on a 1-2 year deal was somewhere in the vicinity of a 1-2M$ AAV out of entry level. But fairly or unfairly signing Wiercioch first at 2M$ per for three years is probably being looked at as a baseline by Cowen's camp now. From the organizations perspective, if they like the player that much and are that confident in his ability I can see the logic in going long term.
Ken Warren who is also in London, tweeted out this tidbit a bit later:
Tim on if it's paramount to have him signed by training camp...
"No. I mean we'd love to have him in camp, to have him signed. But we played a lot of games without him last year. And you know, can we replace Jared Cowen? No, we can't replace him. But we certainly have guys in the organization that want a chance to play. And if we can't get a deal done before camp, and he doesn't come to camp...you know that's what we draft for, I think we've done a good job, I think we're recognized around the league as drafting well and finding free agents and college free agents, that type of thing as you see a few on the ice right here. We showed last year with a lot of injuries to top, top players we can weather the storm. That's not our choice, but I think you know we'll certainly will no problem being a competitive team, whether it's Jared or somebody gets injured early we've shown that we can weather that storm."
This is exactly the right tack.