The Ottawa Senators held strong in their ask of a long-term contract for Brady Tkachuk, and it appears as though it has paid off. Ottawa signed their prized restricted free agent to a seven-year, $57.5M contract. That makes Tkachuk the highest-paid player on the Senators, just eclipsing the $8M cap hit that Thomas Chabot carries. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports that the deal includes a full no-movement clause in the final three years. The full breakdown is as follows:
- 2021-22: $4.0M salary
- 2022-23: $6.5M salary
- 2023-24: $10.5M salary
- 2024-25: $10.5M salary
- 2025-26: $10.5M salary
- 2026-27: $8.5M salary
- 2027-28: $7.0M salary
Senators GM Pierre Dorion released a statement:
“This is an exciting day for the Ottawa Senators. Brady possesses a very dynamic skill set and is a prototypical power forward in today’s NHL. He scores goals, he plays physical and exemplifies what it means to be a pro for all players in our organization.”
As expected, the deal does not include any signing bonus money, a staple of Dorion’s negotiations. Tkachuk is expected to be in the building Thursday for the Sens when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he will not play, according to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff.
Compared to the short-term deals that could have taken Tkachuk to unrestricted free agency much quicker, this is a huge win for the Senators. They will pay their star forward a bit more than some of his contemporaries — Andrei Svechnikov signed an eight-year, $62M deal ($7.75M average annual value) — but will not have to worry about another negotiation for quite some time.
Technically, because the season has already started, Tkachuk’s cap hit for the 2021-22 season will actually be slightly higher, coming in at $8,291,486, according to CapFriendly. That really doesn’t mean much for the Senators, which are nowhere near the cap ceiling. The hit will come down to $8,208,571 for the final six years of the deal, still making Tkachuk the most expensive player on the team.
There is no doubt that the 22-year-old forward is the heartbeat of the Senators, though it is important to remember that this is still a player who has never eclipsed 22 goals or 45 points in a single season. Ottawa very likely paid a premium in this deal because of its history of losing (trading) stars as they approached free agency, something the franchise obviously wanted to avoid in this situation. The team is expecting big things from the young group it assembled and needed the leader back on the ice to push things in the right direction.
That essentially ends the RFA period for this season, with all of the major players signed. Quite a bit of money was handed out this offseason as things return to normal, even though there is no significant salary cap movement expected until 2025.
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