With training camps starting next week, many Ottawa Senators fans remain anxious about the status of restricted free agent winger Brady Tkachuk. The fourth-overall pick in 2018 has become the centerpiece of a young, developing offense that’s looking to potentially make noise in the playoff conversation next year.
There was some hope last week after a report from the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch had reported that talks were “positive” and progress was being made. It was also reported in the piece that Ottawa had tabled an eight-year, $64MM offer to Tkachuk, matching Thomas Chabot’s extension from two seasons ago.
But more fuel was added to the rumor mill tonight, as evidenced by a preview of brother Matthew Tkachuk’s interview on an upcoming episode of Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts podcast. While Tkachuk doesn’t comment on the tonal nature of the talks, he does go so far to say that Brady and the team, to his knowledge, aren’t close on an extension. He also talks about himself and his family’s participation in the negotiations:
I’m in the mix. I’m always there. It’s a family business, nobody wants to deal with the Tkachuks in this. We do it by committee, yeah… Brady might be pulling a classic Tkachuk right now. I mean, [Keith Tkachuk] held out, Matthew held out, and Brady looks like he’s on his way right now.
For any Senators fan, it’s troubling to hear about the increasing possibility that Brady Tkachuk won’t be participating at the start of training camp considering the possibility for an increased absence that it brings. Aside from his standout play-driving ability, Tkachuk’s energizing grit is highly valued on and off the ice for a Senators team that looked to really gel together at the end of last season.
Ottawa’s shown this offseason, in a departure from recent procedure, that they’re willing to give out term and commitment to this young core. They made Drake Batherson the longest-signed forward on their roster, inking him to a six-year $29.9MM deal earlier this month. It signaled to many that a Tkachuk extension could be imminent as well, but that point of view is changing. It’s important to note that, per CapFriendly, the Senators still have $24.5MM in projected cap space for the upcoming season.