As Senators extend GM Dorion tenure, deal still looms for beloved Tkachuk
Any moment my ship is coming
I will keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, surely there will be that call
It’s gonna happen soon, soon, oh so very soon
It’s just that times are lean
– Colin Hay, longtime Australian-American songwriter
Brady Tkachuk’s ship is coming soon, right?
It’s not often that a team’s fan base is obsessed with securing a new contract for a restricted free agent – RFA players are typically seen as having few real options and little influence. – but in Ottawa, that’s where we are. And where Senators fans have spent all summer waiting for Brady.
Brady, Brady . . . to borrow the title from a hockey series for young readers written by Mary Shaw.
As the calendar counts down the days until the camp’s launch on September 22, the two sides have yet to strike a deal – with the Senators finding out just how influential the kid really is. Director-General Pierre Dorion said in a Zoom call on Tuesday that negotiations with the Tkachuk camp are continuing.
“We spoke as recently as Friday,” Dorion said, as he spoke to reporters about his own contract extension. “We are not going to negotiate in public, but discussions are ongoing and they have been very positive so far.
“So, I hope the next announcement is definitely more important than this announcement.”
Who is Brady Tkachuk?
In case you’ve been living under a rock for a few years (or haven’t been watching Senators hockey), Tkachuk is a beloved player in this market almost beyond reason. A six-foot-four beast from a left winger who wasn’t 22 until September 16, but still has the kind of reputation forged in the trenches and the loathing of opposition from veteran Mark Messier or Gordie Howe. No one wanted to tangle with his elbows either.
A fourth pick in the 2018 Boston University Draft, Tkachuk is not a sniper, but he led his young Senators in scoring last season with 36 points in 56 games. Few of his 17 goals were things of beauty, they were more like rewards from the hockey gods for Tkachuk’s willingness to dine so regularly on the goal crease blue tablecloth.
When Tkachuk lost a few front teeth in the line of duty one night, he smiled and continued, laughing at how lucky he was that the movable teeth were stuck inside his transient mouthguard for safekeeping, to be reconnected the next morning by team dentist Dr. Bill Henry. Tkachuk hadn’t returned to the dentist five minutes before he was on the phone with this Sportsnet reporter, fulfilling an obligation he had taken on. Typical Brady. Answer the bell.
For his bravado, for his bragging, for his thirst to compete, for his ‘Frank the Tank’ goal shimmy-shake, for his willingness to ‘drag his teammates into battle’, as the head coach so often puts it. DJ Smith, Tkachuk reportedly won’t be able to afford a beer in this town for the next eight years if he were to sign a contract for that length – for terms likely close to his teammate’s current $ 64 million deal. Thomas Chabot over eight years.
Or, maybe over $ 8 million per person, given Tkachuk’s importance to the franchise / fan base and the time that has passed since the Chabot deal.
The organization would like Brady to be locked up for eight years, to the point that management has publicly suspended the captain’s post in front of Tkachuk. That is, as long as it is ready to go for a long time, as they say on the football fields.
“You can’t have a captain on a bridge deal,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said on a show in Toronto in May. “You can’t have a captain over there with a bridge contract, that’s not going to happen.”
A little background to Melnyk’s stipulation. The Senators are used to seeing their captains walk.
Daniel Alfredsson wore the “C” for over a decade, but chose to end his career in Detroit after a contract dispute in Ottawa. Jason Spezza was only captain for a year (2013-14) before asking for a trade, believing he was too responsible for the team’s losses. Erik Karlsson served as captain from 2014 to 2018, but was traded during the 2018 camp when no contract extension was made. Mark Stone, owner of Brady Tkachuk in Ottawa, was considered heir apparent as captain, but he left for the rich in Las Vegas by the 2019 trade deadline.
So you can understand a touch of sensitivity with regard to the harbor master’s office. Ottawa hasn’t had a captain since Karlsson, but Coach Smith said he believed it was time to name one.
Tkachuk and Chabot would both make good captains. In fact, you could argue that Tkachuk should be left to wreak havoc and do “Brady” things while the calm and steady Chabot speaks for the team in both official languages.
I would be fine with that. Most would.
But if Tkachuk IS your man, he is your man. Whether he’s signing for three, four, or eight years, if he’s the guy you want to lead, he should be wearing the “C”.
Otherwise, the Senators are sending two clear signals to players and fans: 1. The organization does not believe it has the capacity to sign a second contract with Tkachuk after a tentative deal. And 2. That Chabot is the backup choice.
Chabot as plan B for the ‘C’
After waiting three years to appoint a captain, this is no way to start this next critical phase of growth towards rivalry – by hinting that you have taken Plan B as punishment for Tkachuk for not playing the game. balloon in negotiations.
In a perfect world, this point will be moot, as Tkachuk signs a long-term deal and dons the No.7 jersey with a “C” sewn on the front.
GM Dorion extended until 2024-25
Even if it wasn’t the contract fans had been eagerly awaiting – Brady’s – few would dispute that Pierre Dorion gained the extra security that came with the three-year contract extension announced on Tuesday. Like most GMs, there have been some trades and acquisitions that haven’t worked out, but Dorion’s record as a scout and draft supervisor is excellent. As the architect of this in-depth reconstruction, Dorion and project guru Trent Mann have recruited figures like Chabot, Tkachuk, Tim Stützle (part of Erik Karlsson’s business windfall), Jake Sanderson, Shane Pinto and more. Again.
Dorion feels that her young group is ready to take the next step.
End of reconstruction?
“For me that will be the fun part,” said Dorion. “The reconstruction is complete. Now we are moving into another area and I am excited about the group of players we have, with the maturity that they have brought or gained over the past few years. I’m excited about some of the veterans and how they’ve come a long way.
Dorion, 49, is said to have entered the final year of his contract, although there was a squad option for another year. Now this option is added at the end of this extension.
The move gives Dorion the freedom to operate without worrying about his future within the organization, or looking over his shoulder at Pierre McGuire, who was hired this summer as senior vice president of player development. . Dorion deserves a chance to carry out this plan.
Now entering his 15th year with the Senators, Dorion became general manager in April 2016.
“Stability is the message she sends to the players,” said Dorion. “I’m going to be the general manager here for the next four or five years. As the manager of hockey (operations), I recruited most of these players as GM, chief scout or director of player personnel, and I had a big say here on many of the players. these players with a lot of our staff members. “
“Stability is important,” Dorion added.
Considering the recent extensions of Dorion and head coach DJ Smith, as well as the hiring of McGuire, owner Eugene Melnyk certainly has his staff in place for the next few seasons – years that should involve the fight for them. Stanley Cup playoffs for the Senses.
Batherson skates in Ottawa
Fresh off his new six-year, $ 29.85 million contract he signed last week, winger Drake Batherson was in Ottawa on Tuesday, skating with about 15 of his Senators teammates before speaking to the media. during a Zoom call.
Batherson said the long-term signing was an “easy decision,” given his welcome to Ottawa and his optimism for the team.
“I think we’re just going to keep building and hopefully have a great year,” Batherson said. “We’re all competitive guys in this, we all want to win, so we’re definitely not going to fall without a fight every night and obviously trying to push for a berth (in the playoffs).”
With 17 goals last season, Batherson, 23, was tied with Tkachuk and Josh Norris for second in the team’s goal department, behind Connor Brown’s 21. 36, 35, 35 and 34. The essence of Ottawa’s top six forwards is their ability to make plays, but also with that element of shooting.
Last week, Dorion said he could see Batherson hit the 30-35 mark if he shot a little harder.
Batherson doesn’t expect the weight of the new contract, though loaded back, to slow him down.
“I’m tough enough on myself to be good every night,” Batherson said. “Every game, every practice, I’m always trying to improve. I hate losing – a super competitive guy – that’s the driving force for me. “