Where's the disconnect between Tkachuk and the Sens?
As the club prepares to start the 2021-22 season without one of their young stars, Senators president of business operations Anthony LeBlanc addressed some of the rumours surrounding the contract talks. During a radio appearance on CFRA, LeBlanc discussed how general manager Pierre Dorian has approached the negotiations with the Tkachuk camp as he attempts to navigate the club out of a multi-year rebuild.
“Pierre came in and said, ‘These are the parameters I need to get this very exciting and very important player signed’,” said LeBlanc. “It was a very holistic approach. He had already signed [Thomas] Chabot to a long-term deal and, at that point, was finalizing [Drake] Batherson.
“Pierre is continuing to manage the process, he feels it’s going in the right direction,” said LeBlanc. “Pierre’s belief was ‘We can’t make deals based off one individual’ and it has to be holistic about where we’re going as a group.”
LeBlanc also discussed the reports that talks with Tkachuk had stalled due to personal intervention from Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk, stating in no uncertain terms that those rumours are false.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in the last couple of days is conjecture that the problem is the owner is getting involved and dictating (the negotiations) and that part couldn’t be further from the truth,” said LeBlanc. “I’m not involved in the negotiations, but I can tell you the parameters laid out by Pierre, Eugene looked at it, and said, ‘That makes sense’,” And that’s really the situation right now.”
At the moment, the Senators have more than $20 million in cap space to sign Tkachuk, who scored 17 goals and added 29 assists in 56 games last season.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston, the Senators are in no hurry to reach a deal with Tkachuk and reach the NHL’s cap floor prior to the deadline on Monday at 5 pm, at which point all teams must be cap compliant.
Negotiations may spill into the regular season as Johnston reports that the Senators remain focused on signing the 21-year-old to a long-term deal, while Tkachuk would prefer a short-term bridge deal.
Despite the clock ticking down to the Senators opening night game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, LeBlanc reiterated that Dorian and the club are simply executing the plan they have laid out.
“I just feel it’s important for people to know it’s a process, you have to have a plan and you have to execute on it. That’s what Pierre is in the process of doing right now.”