Jared Cowen has already missed the first few days of Ottawa’s training camp and, by the sounds of it, he’s in line to miss many more.
That’s what Senators assistant GM Tim Murray told the Ottawa Sun on Friday, saying talks between the club and Cowen, the prized RFA defenseman, have stalled.
“We both made proposals a day apart. They turned down ours and we turned down theirs. I guess we’re at a stalemate,” Murray explained. “We’ve talked a lot. I have to say we’ve closed the gap a little bit but it seems to me we’re at a stalemate.”
The Cowen negotiations have been acrimonious for a while.
Last week, reports from the Sun claimed Ottawa tabled an eight-year, $28 million deal similar to the one Isles defenseman Travis Hamonic (seven years, $28 million) signed in July.
It seemed as though Ottawa wanted to lock up Cowen for as long as possible, to avoid him going to arbitration (he has rights next year) or losing him as a UFA.
While intriguing, a long-term deal failed to gain traction and now appears off the table.
The new focus is on a four-year pact.
Here’s more, from the Sun:
While Murray and Cowen’s agent Rick Valette held talks as recently as Tuesday, neither is willing to budge. Sources told the Sun the Senators have offered Cowen a four-year, $11.2 million deal while he is seeking $12.2-to-$12.6 million on the same term.
“They felt they were leaving too much money on the table,” said Murray. “We’ve been talking four year deals. I have no problem saying that.
“Four year deals is fair to both sides. He gets to establish himself as a top player.”
Murray added he doesn’t “know what [Valette] is thinking on this,” and that “it has taken us two months to get in the same stratosphere on a four-year deal.”
Cowen — a towering presence at 6-foot-5, 230-pounds — missed almost all of last year recovering from hip surgery, part of why he’s yet to cement himself as a “top player.”
The hulking rearguard did play all 82 games in 2011-12 (his rookie campaign) scoring 5G-12A-17PTS while leading all Sens defensemen in hits.
In the ’12 postseason he upped the ante in a seven-game loss to the Rangers, leading all skaters with 28 hits.