Well that changes everything.
As Ottawa Senators fans prepared to head to the track for their first regular season home game in 588 days, due to a minor drop in the shoulders from an eruption of negative vibes in recent days, they were hit by a lightning, figuratively. .
A life-changing ray of hope and stability for a small-market NHL franchise and its fan base.
IF ONLY the Sens could sign a long-term contract with their left heart and soul, this was the mantra until late spring, early summer, and into training camp and the preseason schedule. So deep that the Senators would have to play their first game of the season against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday without Brady Tkachuk in the lineup.
But no. 7 will be in the Ottawa lineup soon and for years to come.
– brady tkachuk (@ BradyTkachuk71) October 14, 2021
Suddenly, everything seems possible again, including building a true contender around a core of young players that includes Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, Josh Norris, Tim Stützle, Drake Batherson, Jake Sanderson, and more. Maybe this franchise can really deliver on its promise that this time around things would be different when it comes to its stars.
In recent days, there has been no joy in Mudville, paraphrasing Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s great poem, because it seemed that powerful senators had gotten down to business trying to sign Tkachuk into a long-term agreement. On top of that, two starting forwards, Colin White and Austin Watson, were out with injuries and No. Goalie Matt Murray was ill and unavailable to face the Leafs.
But for a real disappointment, fans just had to think about what was happening on the front of Brady T’s contract. Not much to hang a hat reportedly. A bridging deal seemed inevitable, a short-term fix that would bring with it the chorus of here we go again: Tkachuk would soon walk out the door as a UFA in his prime, like Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson and others before him.
All that changed when the team announced shortly after noon, shortly after their morning skating, that Tkachuk had signed a seven-year, $ 57.5 million contract with the Senators. The AAV is $ 8,214 million.
Sometimes the most important offers seem impossible to make. . . until they are not. Find what is the case here.
It breaks down like this: $ 4M in 2021-22, then $ 6.5M, $ 10.5M, $ 10.5M, $ 10.5M, $ 8.5M and finally $ 7M in the seventh and final year of the deal, in 2027-28 .
And so it fits with the Chabot deal, an 8x $ 8M contract, signed two years ago by the franchise advocate. That contract also expires in 2027-28.
– Ottawa Senators (@Senators) October 14, 2021
“This is an exciting day for the Ottawa Senators,” general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement. Dorion will do interviews Thursday night before the game.
“Brady has a very dynamic skill set and is a prototype power forward in the NHL today. He scores goals, plays physical and exemplifies what it means to be a professional for all the players in our organization. “
In the same statement, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he was delighted that Tkachuk finally signed a long-term deal.
“He is a valued member of our leadership group, is universally respected by his teammates and a player we are confident will have a significant impact on our success in the seasons to come.”
And there it is. Wow. Seven-year agreement for Brady Tkachuk. Hallelujah. $ 8.2M AAV. How are you doing now, Sens fans? https://t.co/76omx73WWU
– Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) October 14, 2021
Players will be relieved, and not just because they no longer have to answer questions about moving on without their towering 22-year-old left winger.
Head coach DJ Smith might be the happiest of the bunch within the walls of the Canadian Tire Center.
Speaking Wednesday about Tkachuk, Smith said: “It’s tough for the guys in the room. They want it here with them. We want to win every game and when he is with us we have a better chance of winning. They want it here, but they understand that business is business and there is nothing we can do to change it because that is not our job. All we can do is try to win with the group in front of us. “
Suddenly, fighting to win without Tkachuk becomes a temporary task.
He is expected to skate with the team on Friday, but it will take Tkachuk a few days to prepare for a game, but before long he will be ready to play. According to Smith, Tkachuk’s main role is to drag his teammates into battle, even on nights when they don’t seem equipped to do so.
Although not primarily a scorer, Tkachuk led the Senators last season with 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in 56 games. He played over 18 minutes per game and performed 248 body checks (third in the NHL) while getting under the skin of 85 percent of his opponents (a random guess).
That ‘Chucky’ will be back, storming the blue paint, grinning a devilish grin, dancing to Frank the Tank celly, with a long-term commitment to the team and the community, it’s almost more than Senators fans could ever imagine. realistic way.
For now, at least, the days of fire tires are over.
There is hope in the nation’s capital.
Everything seems possible now that the impossible has been achieved.
Tkachuk will be involved for the long haul and if the story unfolds like a script would, he will drag his team into battle to the Stanley Cup, Ottawa’s first since 1927.
Dare to dream.