It may have taken until the start of the regular season, but the Ottawa Senators finally managed to get Brady Tkachuk signed to a long-term contract.
The team announced on Thursday morning that it signed Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, to a massive seven-year, $57.5 million contract. That deal carries a salary cap hit of $8.2 million per season, exceeding Thomas Chabot for the largest cap number on the team. It also also firmly places Tkachuk as part of the team’s long-term core alongside Chabot, Drake Batherson, and Tim Stutzle.
It is a deal where pretty much everybody gets what they wanted.
The Senators get the long-term contract they wanted and secure one of their franchise players for the long-term, buying out three years of unrestricted free agent eligibility. They also managed to hold firm on their signing bonus stance and handed out a contract that includes zero signing bonuses, something no player on the roster has.
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Tkachuk wins by getting a massive dollar amount. He will make $4 million in actual salary this season, $6.5 million next season, before ballooning to $10.5 million between the 2023 and 2026 seasons.
Tkachuk is not expected to play in the Senators’ season opener on Thursday night after missing all of training camp and the preseason.
He is the Senators’ top offensive player while his game is built around driving possession and generating a ton of shots (nearly four per game). Over the first three seasons of his career he has been insanely consistent offensively, scoring at a 25-goal, 52-point pace per 82 games. When we saw consistent, we do mean consistent. His goals per game average each season has been 0.31, 0.30, and 0.30 while his point per game averages have been 0.63, 0.62, and 0.64.
That is very good production, especially for a player that is still just entering his prime years. The key for the Senators is going to be if he takes a big step forward offensively and improves on that. Because if he keeps maintaining that pace and never improves on it the Senators are going to be paying superstar money for a very good player. The hope has to be that all of that shot volume coincides with the occasional shooting percentage spike to produce a couple of superstar level seasons.