Dion Phaneuf

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Jared Cowen on buyout from Maple Leafs: ‘it was a joke of a process’

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Jared Cowen has not played in a professional hockey game since February of 2016, just before he was traded by the Ottawa Senators to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the blockbuster Dion Phaneuf trade.

Cowen, a top-10 pick in the 2009 NHL draft, never played in a game for the Maple Leafs organization and was involved in a complex arbitration case with the team after the team bought him out. The Maple Leafs executed the buyout in an effort to create additional salary cap space, a move that Cowen challenged on the grounds that he was injured and it was against league rules for the Maple Leafs to buy out his contract.

Cowen lost the case (and $3 million) and became a free agent, finally landing with the Colorado Avalanche this summer on a tryout contract in the hopes of resurrecting his once promising career.

On Friday, he spoke with Adrian Dater of BSNDenver and was extremely critical of the process with the Maple Leafs.

Via BSNDenver.

“Basically, they got me, figured out that I was hurt, they didn’t want to deal with it and they got rid of me.”

“It was a joke of a process,” Cowen said. “But, it’s in the past. It was a stressful time in my life, in terms of getting traded, getting bought out, getting waived, finding out I needed surgeries.”

Obviously, his time in Toronto was not a very pleasant experience for him.

Now he is getting an opportunity to crack an Avalanche lineup that is desperate for help on the blue line.

When it comes to finding a spot that would give him a chance to make an NHL roster, Colorado was probably the best possible landing spot for him.

The Avalanche have been one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL for a couple of years now and still have a defense that looks to be woefully undermanned on paper. Even after finally signing restricted free agent Nikita Zadorov they only have four NHL defensemen under contract for the 2016-17 season. Five if you include prospect Andrei Mironov. So there is obviously a spot to be had if he can impress in training camp and the preseason.

Prior to the injury that sidelined him in 2016 Cowen had appeared in 249 NHL games — all with the Senators — and scored 15 goals to go with 31 assists.

Jared Cowen aims to resurrect career with Avalanche

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The Colorado Avalanche announced that they handed defenseman Jared Cowen a PTO for their upcoming training camp.

Cowen has experienced quite the wild set of highs and lows, even though he’s just 26.

Things started out great with the Ottawa Senators, who selected him with the ninth pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.

A combination of poor play and injuries made those high hopes fizzle out dramatically for Cowen, who was eventually part of the complicated trade that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Senators.

Cowen “went” to the Toronto Maple Leafs, yet he would never suit up for Toronto, who bought him out for cap/money reasons.

Part of that was the declining opinion of his all-around play. That said, a lot of his issues were health-related; hip problems dogged him for much of his career, and Cowen hasn’t played since 2015-16.

With that in mind, Cowen is the sort of long shot you’d expect to receive a PTO, rather than the Lee Stempniaks of the world who sometimes must accept tryouts because of a baffling lack of offers. It makes sense in a low-risk, likely low-reward standpoint for the Avalanche, too, as they can use all the defensive help they can get.

Again, it would be surprising to see Cowen land an NHL job. Even so, if that doesn’t happen, maybe Cowen could turn enough heads to at least prolong his hockey career.

Looking to make the leap: Thomas Chabot

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This post is part of Senators Day on PHT…

Thomas Chabot spent a brief time in the NHL last season, before he was reassigned to junior in November.

His debut included just over seven minutes of ice time against the Arizona Coyotes on Oct. 18, and he was on the ice for two goals against. After his brief time in Ottawa, the 2015 first-round pick had another strong year in junior with the Saint John Sea Dogs, with 45 points in 34 games during the regular season and 23 points in 18 playoff games.

He was most impressive, however, for Team Canada at the World Juniors. His puck-moving abilities were instrumental in helping lead Canada’s offensive attack and he finished the tournament with four goals and 10 points in seven games.

It was just another part of a productive year from the left-shooting blue liner, who turned 20 years old in January.

Now, the Senators will look for Chabot to take another step in his development. He’s eligible for both the NHL and AHL this season.

Not including Chabot, Ottawa currently has seven defensemen signed for next season, with $19.85 million committed to that position, per CapFriendly. The club wanted to expose Dion Phaneuf in the expansion draft but he ultimately didn’t waive his no-movement clause. Instead, the Senators were left to expose Marc Methot, who was not only selected by Vegas but then traded to Dallas.

During the period of time in which Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was contemplating asking Phaneuf to waive his no-movement clause, he spoke highly of Chabot, saying he could challenge for a roster spot when training camp opens.

He previously stated that Chabot was, “…arguably the best defenceman outside the NHL right now,” according to TSN in April, when the injury-plagued Senators were looking into calling up Chabot.

An offseason signing that may impact Chabot’s situation is the addition of veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya at one year for $1 million.

“We know, through the course of last year, that defencemen are always at a premium,” Dorion told the Ottawa Citizen recently.

“Does this mean (Chabot) starts in Belleville? We don’t know. There’s a chance we could start with eight defencemen or seven defencemen.”

Sens ink veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya to one-year deal

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The Ottawa Senators have added some depth to their blue line, as they’ve signed Johnny Oduya to a one-year deal that comes with a base salary of $1 million.

Interestingly enough, Oduya can earn another $1.25 million in performance bonuses (games played, time -on-ice, playoff bonuses), per the Sens’ Twitter account.

The 35-year-old started last season with the Dallas Stars, but he was traded back to the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 28.

Oduya finished the 2016-17 season with two goals, seven assists and a minus-4 rating in 52 games. He also played in all four the Blackhawks’ playoff games (he had no points and a minus-3 rating in the postseason).

The Senators lost defenseman Marc Methot to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, and they didn’t replace him with a free-agent signing until now.

As of right now, Ottawa has Erik Karlsson, Dion Phaneuf, Cody Ceci, Mark Borowiecki, Chris Wideman, Fredrik Claesson and Oduya on the back end (only Phaneuf and Karlsson are under contract beyond 2017-18). Top prospect Thomas Chabot could also make the team with a solid training camp.

Report: Senators plan to keep Phaneuf, after asking him to waive NMC

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It’s been an interesting few weeks to say the least for the Ottawa Senators and Dion Phaneuf.

He was asked to waive his no-movement clause ahead of the expansion draft, which would’ve left him unprotected had he agreed to that request. There were also reports of trade interest in Phaneuf, who is 32 years old and with four years remaining on a pricey seven-year, $49 million contract.

Phaneuf denied Ottawa’s request to waive, and the Senators ended up losing Marc Methot to Vegas, which then flipped him to Dallas in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and prospect goalie Dylan Ferguson.

Now, it’s been reported, the Senators plan to keep Phaneuf.

What has transpired over the past few weeks likely makes for some awkward conversations down the road.

“They’re not easy conversations when you ask someone (to waive a no-move clause), but he understood,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion told Sportsnet.

“It was a man-to-man conversation. There was no bulls**t. When we talked to him I explained to him: ‘I said it’s not that you’re the fourth-best defenceman on this team, Dion.’ It’s ‘we want to try to top keep our top-four intact.’”

Phaneuf played in 81 regular season games for Ottawa in 2016-17, scoring nine goals and 30 points. He scored one goal and five points in 19 playoff games.

The Senators currently have six defensemen under contract for next season, with their star Erik Karlsson facing a four-month recovery from offseason foot surgery. With Methot gone, prospect blue liner Thomas Chabot should also have quite an opportunity to crack the Senators’ lineup next season.