The sudden announcement that due to some miscalculation Jared Cowen was no longer on the last year of his entry level contract but in fact a restricted free agent due for resigning caught many including myself and probably the organisation way off guard.
It’s interesting when a procedural error is made pro-sports, eh? It really shows how there is no room for mistakes in the business. Remember when those qualifying offers accidentally weren’t sent to a bunch of those Blackhawks players a couple years back? That was sch a rare piece of news.
I mean it’s one thing to make a bad personnel decision like giving Rick DiPietro a 15 year contract only to get handcuffed by it when he goes and has a legendary rash of injuries. As a number 1 overall pick (speaking of miscalculations, a goalie as #1 pick) he could have just as easily been Martin Brodeur and having him locked down for his entire prime at a steady price would look perfectly logical. Gambles are like that I guess. I digress, what I’m saying is, something like this is such an anomaly that it almost seems like a scandal when it happens.
I’ve heard rumblings that this move was Cowen’s agent flexin’ to get back at that the Sens for sending him to Binghamton during the Lockout where he made…still more money than most people.
I’ve also come across a lot of concern that the Senators will not be able to afford this additional signing on top of Condra and Wiercioch because if we’ve learned one thing this off season THERE ARE A LOT OF FINANCIAL EXPERTS OUT THERE ALL OF A SUDDEN! CONGRATS! Actually come to think of it I know one of our readers used to be an accountant for the Sens…and another one has a Phd in Economics from Oxford…maybe I should just stop being such a smart ass about everything (nah). It is true that the organization has made it clear money is tight. I want to go on a psychedelic journey with you as to why this unforeseen problem could bode well for the team’s budget in the long run.
We’re starting to see that being an upstart rebuilding franchise that’s drafted well and found diamonds in the rough does have a consequence to it. Every year or two the GM of such a team will find him/herself having to resign a whack load (actual unit used) of players. In some cases this jump can be insane. See: Karlsson cap hit increasing over 5 times in size on just his second contract. This year is starting to get into that world of bargain deals going away. Sure, Karlsson is special in that he emerged as an elite talent and 6.5 Illuminati Space Bucks is actually a deal but how are you NOT going to sign a guy like Erik Condra at this point? Condra’s an unknown to the rest of the league but a total unsung hero to Ottawa who bailed the team with remarkable consistency when Ottawa took ALL the penalties all year. I mean, it’s not like Condra’s going to break the bank but what I’m saying is the Condras are going to add up. We find ourselves somewhere in the middle with Cowen.
A towering top ten pick like Cowen is the last guy you want added to the pile of this year’s RFAs right? Well, actually holdez le phone mon chum. I thought about it and you know what, this might not be the worst thing for our beloved budget squad. Sure his pedigree is very good, keep in mind before his reconstructive knee surgery he was looking to get picked top 3 and STILL went top 10 as an injury gamble, he was also huge in that Calder Cup win, etc. but this might prove to be an advantageous year to sign him. Cowen has been good, quite good at times, but still hasn’t done a ton at the NHL level. Due to his hip labarum tear (barf) that sidelined him for nearly all of the AHL AND NHL seasons, his overall poor play in the playoffs and at less than 100 games played in the NHL, Cowen is still very much a guy who still has a lot to prove. To put it in perspective the oft injured Ryan Hopkins-Nugent, who was drafted in 2011 to Cowen’s 2009, has already played more REGULAR SEASON games than him (when you use an Oiler as comparable you HAVE to use regular season games, *wink*).
In the negotiating room I think some of the points I’ve outlined above will favor the Senators. Injury or no the facts of the case are that in 2013 he had 1 point in the regular season and went -6 in the playoffs and looked shaky doing it. Honestly, Cowen has shown flashes of beastliness (which is like CORSI but more scientific) but I can’t deny that the jury is still out on what he could amount to which is why I think this could be a good time to sign him. If he’s the beast with some offensive potential he was projected to be it’s likely a steal, if he’s a so-so defender well, contract looks reasonable and a 6 foot 5 defenseman is something you can typically find a market for. Here’s hoping he makes whatever deal he gets look like a bargain (doiobviously).
It seemed a little premature to resign Kyle Turris when Murray did but now Ottawa has a 2nd line centre who’s produced quite well here, particularly in the playoffs (12 pts in 17 gp) locked up at a very reasonable $3.5MM per year cap hit.
The value of Cowen’s contract will ultimately be up to how he performs on the ice but I forecast that he’s comin’ in on the cheap…also he looks like Seinfeld.