The only restricted free agent still on the docket for Senators GM Bryan Murray to clear off is that of defenseman Jared Cowen. While the Senators were busy signing a flurry of RFA’s in the middle of July, Cowen was patient, knowing that eventually the focus would turn to him. But now, after a couple of weeks of silence, should fans of the Senators be a little concerned that the negotiations are not going quite as smoothly as anticipated?
Cowen is in a tough spot as far as negotiations are concerned because he missed so much of the season. While he might want to get paid based on potential and what comparables have done in their second contracts, the Senators will be looking to keep his salary down with a shorter-term deal until they can assess exactly where he is in his career curve, and then pay him accordingly.
While Cowen will be expected to play top 4 minutes this season, it remains to be seen how much effect, (if any) his hip and knee injuries have had on his mobility and if they will get what they thought they would by drafting him 9th overall in 2009.
The bar has sort of been set with the Patrick Wiercioch 2 year, $4M contract. Wiercioch was a 2nd round pick as opposed to Cowen being a first rounder, and Cowen is a year older. Cowen is probably expecting in the vicinity of $2.5-3M per season, something that most teams would be willing to give a player with his upside.
However, with the Senators already over the suggested internal cap of $5oM, will the Senators play hardball with a player who won’t have much leverage. And if they do play hardball, will Cowen remember that when it comes to unrestricted free agency down the line. Decisions made now could have an impact on the future of the franchise.