Whatever this is boring what do you say I just go ahead and sign Jared Cowen right now.

I know it's baseball but he's wearing #2 and EVERYTHING.

I know it’s baseball but he’s wearing #2 and EVERYTHING.

If this is indeed a free country and I’m going to be this bored I pretty much owe it to not only to myself but to the seafoam, white and blue of Ottawa’s flag to pretend sign Jared Cowen, right?

It makes sense that this contract is taking so long. Is there a weirder history surrounding a player that Ottawa’s had to sign this year than Cowen…you know other than Corvo’s despicable past? The way I see it, this is a pretty high risk deal for Ottawa. The pedigree is there: a first round pick who was slated to go much higher than he did (which is saying something considering he still went 9th overall), world juniors experience, a Calder Cup ring, something called Ed Chynoweth’s Cup. He’s good!

He has also shown flashes of what he can do at the NHL level which is hit people through the boards. His hits aren’t as noticeable as Neil’s or Methot’s but I find nary a game goes by where he doesn’t make an opposing forward sit down on the ice and think about why they shouldn’t enter Ottawa’s zone.

Production is a bit of an issue, I doubt his numbers will ever resemble what they did in the WHL but I could see his production being similar to that of Chris Phillips. He’ll never wow fans with his offensive stats (in fact he’ll likely be cracked on for them) but like with Phillips those odd goals he scores will come in handy. Speculation! Either way, it’s not really Cowen’s job to score. If the Senators find themselves leaning on Jerry for production, well, they’ll have bigger problems on their hands at that point.

Anyway, the big sticky issue here is how the two sides have to agree on a new contract for a very promising player who despite being drated in ‘09 has little NHL experience to draw on so far. Let’s speak to the reason why he has so little NHL time: His near season ending injury where he tore his barf labrum which is lo– Oh! we have caller on the WTYKY hotline!

“We have Ray Ray from on the line from Tupelo, you’re on with a Welcome To Your Karlsson Years blog post, this doesn’t make sense but go ahead Ray Ray…”

“Hi, thanks for taking my call I’m a first time caller and I’ve never read your blog”

Thanks very much, go ahead please, what’s your question?

“Well what I want to know, just to circle back, is if Cowen was slated to go so high in the draft what caused him to drop down? I’ll hang up…” 

…and listen to my response?

“…who cares.” *hang up sound*

Okay, thanks Ray-Ray, well, Cowen dropped in the draft standings because his knee exploded in Junior and he had to have it surgically reconstructed. He looked sluggish in his return resulting in a so-so performance at the WJCs whch scared off a handful of teams on draft day. So…you know…another season ender there… where was I…contract…

Look, I’m not saying that Cowen is damaged goods or something like that. I’m actually pretty high on the kid. I think he’s still raw in some aspects but I love a lot of what he already brings to the table. I’ve long thought of Phillips as one of the more unsung players on the Senators. A couple of years down the line I hope for Cowen to be a replacement for Big Rig and to be similarly under appreciated. Speaking of a few years down the line, is anyone else mildly concerned about a big lumbering dude who at age 22 has already had two serious season ending (more or less) injuries? I suppose that the Senators aren’t worried considering that they have offered him an 8 year deal. You know, an eight year contract, NBD, eight entire years, league max…EIGHT… the kind you offer a kid that’s played less than 100 NHL games since being drafted 4 years ago and is coming off a season where injury that limited him to 7 regular season games followed by a pretty lackluster playoff. *draws breath*  I don’t think I’m eight year contract high on him personally.

Obviously Ottawa believes in his ability DEEPLY offering him the 8 years aaaaaand also believes DEEPLY in potentially saving money by making it an average hit of $3.5MM. Though shut down defenders never really make crazy money if Cowen blossoms over time into a dominant defender they wont have to give him a raise for nearly a decade! But if he underperforms or has injury problems that is a long ass time to have a guy on the books. Right, Sideshow Tyler Myers?

Another option seems to be a short “prove your worth” bridge contract. Though they have a downside too. PK Subaru recently taught the Canadiens the dangers of the bridge contract in a salary cap paradigm. “Hi, Im affordable for two years, oops, Erik Karlsson got badly hurt and I won borrowed the Norris trophy…can I has moneyburger?” Eugene does not has moneyburger right now.

So basically, Cowen is seen by the organization as a building block for the team’s back end going forward (fair, considering Ottawa selected him so high) in need of a building block guy contract (ex. Karlsson’s 7 years) but the the fact remains that he has done precious little to deserve one …save for beating the piss out of Ryan White which was just…*kisses the tips of fingers*

Believing in a guy at less than 100 games played is a gamble plain and simple. I mean entry level contracts are three years long for a reason. This is theoretically like signing him after one season. I think 8 years is pretty much insane commitment. Karlsson’s 7 years made a lot of sense and we’ve already watched him miss an entire season from injury. Cowen’s also already missed one NHL season. I don’t exactly like the idea of a bridge contract either. The typical 2 years feels too short and could wind up costing budget restricted Ottawa a lot of money…that or it could end up costing them Cowen or another good player to accommodate for Cowen when that deal is up. Also find it hard to picture Wiercioch getting 3 years and Cowen 2. What say youuuuuuu…. 5 years 3.25MM dollars per year?  A little less money than the 8 year deal for the Sens, a quicker chance at a raise for Cowzie (assuming his teammates call him that) and still we have the kid locked up for the foreseeable future but not necessarily handcuffed to him if things don’t work out.

What’s that? You think it’s a crap deal? Well I got bad news baby cousin, this is fake and imaginary Cowen is already simultaneously shaking my hand and signing the paper right now.

He looks like Seinfeld.

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