The Ottawa Senators hope to keep forward Stephane Da Costa in the mix, but his status as a restricted free agent doesn’t make him that much easier to keep him in the fold.
Senators assistant GM Pierre Dorion told TSN 1280 that Da Costa (pictured representing France) is also being wooed by the KHL, and from the sound of things, there might be more lucrative offers overseas. The Press & Sun-Bulletin’s Max Weinstein transcribed some key quotes from that interview:
“We’d like to keep him but it has to make sense for both parties,” Dorion said. “It’s no secret that the KHL is offering him big money and it’s up to Steph if he wants to pursue his NHL dream or not. I think we’ve made a very fair offer. (Ottawa general manager Brian Murray) feels that way, I feel that way, I think his agent feels it’s a fair offer and we’ll just see where we go from there.”
Da Costa, 24, hasn’t made a huge impact at the NHL level (four points in 12 games this season; 11 in 47 career NHL games spread over four campaigns), yet he’s had a great tournament for France at the 2014 World Hockey Championship so far. His nine points in seven games matches the efforts of Alex Ovechkin, Seth Jones and Joel Ward in this tournament, helping France finish in the top eight.
While the likelihood of a big offer sheet is slim to none, a KHL team could indeed put forth an offer that Da Costa couldn’t refuse.
In other interesting Senators contract considerations, Dorion indicates that the haggling with backup/1B goalie Robin Lehner could very well take a while.
“There are a few different scenarios,” Dorion said. “We made two types of offers to Robin without getting into too many details. They came back with three types of offers. It’s not a contract that will be done tomorrow.”
Combine those interesting negotiation processes for young players and some tough calls regarding veterans like Ales Hemsky and Milan Michalek and it could be an interesting summer for the Senators.