This is coming from insider Chris Johnston on last night’s edition of Insider Trading on TSN: the Ottawa Senators aren’t any closer to signing restricted free agent Brady Tkachuk.
The Senators have reportedly approached Tkachuk’s camp with an eight-year, $64 million contract. While the two sides aren’t far apart regarding the dollars, the structure of the deal remains a sticking point. Earlier this summer, we found out that while Tkachuk loves his teammates in Ottawa, he would like to see what GM Pierre Dorion and owner Eugene Melnyk plan to do to keep players on the roster long-term. Insiders have been wondering if a bridge deal could be the solution though it sounds like a lot of things are going wrong in the current discussions.
“They certainly aren’t any closer and when I made my debut [on the TSN Hockey panel) last week I wouldn’t even say that much because there really hasn’t been that much progress on an extension in recent days,” explained Johnston.
“In fact, I’m getting the sense that Ottawa is comfortable and prepared to start the regular season without Tkachuk signed. Team sources say they can reach the salary cap floor even without him under contract to start the year. So, the Senators aren’t feeling any pressure to get this deal done by Monday’s 5 p.m. EST deadline when all teams must be cap compliant. At this stage in time, the Senators remain focused on a long-term deal for Tkachuk, while I believe his camp would prefer something shorter.”
Tkachuk, who’s still four years away from free agency, clearly wants to know what the team’s long-term plan is to make a sound decision. And so it sounds like Brady, just like brother Matthew with the Calgary Flames, isn’t yet willing to commit long-term to the Senators unless they can show him that they are serious about contending for a Stanley Cup and getting the money on the table and talented players on board to do so.
However, the Senators don’t seem ready to flinch and the fact that they are at ease with starting the season without Tkachuk onboard might have the RFA getting nervous…