Contract talks between Ottawa and RFA defenseman Jared Cowen have stalled, and Cowen’s asking price could be the reason why.
The 22-year-old rearguard is reportedly gunning for a similar deal to the one the New York Islanders gave Travis Hamonic — a seven-year, $27 million extension — according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
Garrioch reports that “some believe Cowen’s camp would like something close” to Hamonic’s deal, which raised a few eyebrows when it was signed on July 5.
The length of term and financial commitment were surprising, but the overall consensus was that GM Garth Snow made a shrewd salary cap maneuver, as Hamonic — who averaged nearly 23 minutes a night and led the Isles in hits in 2013 — now checks in annually with a tidy $3.85 million hit until 2020.
While Cowen might like a similar deal, he doesn’t bring a similar resume to the table.
Hamonic has been a steady contributor since debuting in the 2010-11 season and, at 22, already has 183 regular season games under his belt.
Cowen has roughly half that (90 reg. season) after missing almost all of last year recovering from hip surgery.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound rearguard did play all 82 games in 2011-12 — his rookie campaign — scoring 5G-12A-17PTS. He led all Sens defensemen in hits during the regular season, then upped the ante in a seven-game playoff loss to the Rangers, leading all skaters with 28 hits.
But is that enough to warrant a huge deal?
The X-factor in all of this will be Ottawa’s financial situation. The Sens are not a spend-to-the-cap team and already have $14.5 million committed next season to defensemen Erik Karlsson, Chris Phillips, Marc Methot and Patrick Wiercioch.
Cody Ceci, the club’s 2012 first-rounder, will be ready to make a push for a spot in a year or two while Eric Gryba impressed in his rookie campaign, appearing in 33 games while recording six points during 2013.
All of this will likely be taken into consideration with Cowen’s new deal, which needs to be done before Sens training camp opens on Sept. 11.