World News – CA – Senators Connor Brown embraces new veteran role on new contract


Connor Brown talks about the future of the Ottawa Senators and explains why he believes the team will do things the right way

Connor Brown signed an 11-hour contract and we could all imagine the big sigh of relief from Senators head coach DJ Blacksmith

Brown, who signed a three-year contract for $ 10 to $ 8 million (average annual value of $ 3.6 million), was Smith’s go-to in almost every situation last season. Not only did the quick winger finish team’s second in points (43 in 71 games), but led all forwards with an average of 20:07 minutes per game

In key moments of the game, whether on shorthanded, five-on-five or power-play, Brown was often the first Ottawa player to be sent over the boards

And when his arbitration hearing popped up – Thursday morning – there were concerns that Brown, 26, could be heading for a one-year settlement, then unrestricted free agency next summer Considering the $ 2.55 million of the gap between Ottawa’s arbitration offer of $ 25million versus Brown’s camp demand of $ 4.8million, there was a risk that Senators would step down if the arbitration award was fourmillion

Instead, a happy compromise: the FRG winger struck a deal with Senators general manager Pierre Dorion late Wednesday night, a mid-term deal at a very reasonable cost for the dynamic winger Brown earns $ 2.8 million in 2020-21, then $ 4 million in each of the following seasons

« I believe in what we’re doing in Ottawa, I think there are some great pieces, » Brown said on a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday. « I think I’m a good person there so I felt it was good for both sides and I’m glad we got something sorted out »

Brown admitted he was very relieved to have something to do, given the « uncertainty in the world » due to COVID-19, not to mention a fixed salary cap that is impacting free agent contracts

On the other side of the story, Dorion seemed just as happy to have her on the books, another RFA box checked

« We are very happy that Connor is back on contract, » Dorion said in a statement. « He brings a veteran presence to our roster and is a player who can play in different situations

« He is durable, has a strong work ethic with good practice habits and is considered a leader by his teammates. His ability to play from top to bottom in the lineup while producing offensively is especially valuable for us as we continue our transition to a consistent winner »

That Word ‘Transition’ Is Key Until young players are ready for the top six roles, Brown will be key to the Senators’ offense. As qualified players mature, he should take on more of a role of support as energy forward

Brown, from Toronto, set career highs in assists (27) and points (43) last season and hasn’t missed a game.A testament to Dorion’s comment on sustainability is the fact that Brown hasn’t missed a game with injury since March 17, 2016, in his first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs drafted Brown in the sixth round (156th overall) of the 2012 draft He was traded to Ottawa on July 1, 2019 with defenseman Nikita Zaitsev and forward Mike Carcone as part of the deal that sent defensemen Codi Cela, Ben Harpur, forward Aaron Luchuk and a third-round pick in Toronto

There have been big changes in Ottawa’s roster since Brown last played for the team in March With the additions of goalie Matt Murray, winger Evgenii Dadonov, defensemen Josh Brown and Erik Gudbranson and forward Austin Watson are the departures of veterans Bobby Ryan, Mark Borowiecki, Ron Hainsey and winger Anthony Duclair

Combine that with an influx of young talent from Belleville, including forwards Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Alex Formenton, and Brown will take on more of a veteran’s stature

“It’s a new role for me in the NHL that goes pretty quickly,” said Brown “I feel like I’ve just entered the league and it’s a role I’m going to have to assume

« I’ve played in teams that had a good culture and I understand the impact of culture and how that translates into wins so I’ll do my best to try and lead a bunch of guys coming in in the league »

How quickly can the Senators become candidates? Brown says « timeline is hard to predict » and depends on how quickly players like Batherson and Norris become influential in this lineup

« We have good people, good coaching staff – we are going to do it the right way and I hope that will change as quickly as possible, » said Brown

He noted that young stars like forward Brady Tkachuk and defenseman Thomas Chabot are already in leadership roles in their early 20s.

« I know they’re young guys, but they were leaders in the team last year and they’re both really good people, team guys first, » Brown said.

With Brown on board for three more years, Smith can write in a right-wing assortment of Dadonov, Batherson, Brown and Austin Watson

« I think we will be a tough team to face, » said Brown. « It’s going to be about scoring enough goals »

During this unusual October off-season, he is in the gym five days a week and skates two to three times a week with other NHL players in Toronto, under coach Bryan Marshall

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If center Logan Brown becomes a regular with the Senators in 2020-21, there could be a brown troika, now that Connor Brown is under contract and defenseman Josh Brown has been added by trade from Florida Oh, and did we mention that the Senators’ play-by-play broadcaster is called Dean Brown?

Connor Brown says it’s a good thing Logan Brown says « Logie » Unfortunately Connor and Josh Brown are nicknamed « Brownie »

Coincidentally, Connor Brown’s older brother Jeff played with Josh Brown on the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, where DJ Smith was head coach

Just a few weeks ago, Ottawa’s payroll had almost as many caps as it did commitments What a difference $ 22 9 million USD can make

Following the buyout of Bobby Ryan on September 25, the Senators had a projected salary cap of $ 41.9 million, prompting a discussion about what they could do to meet the $ 60 million minimum cap The conversation has changed

After what you might call a pandemic spending spree, the Senators’ pledge cap rose to $ 63,697,499, according to CapFriendly Meanwhile, Ottawa has invested nearly $ 23 million in contracts while acquiring seven players through trade or free will Biggest deals involved goalie Matt Murray (four years, $ 25 million) and striker Evgenii Dadonov (three years, $ 15 million)

A month ago, the Senators seemed ripe to accept a so-called « bad contract » or an injured reserve candidate to top up their payroll Under the circumstances, Dorion’s job could be done for now – to the exception perhaps of a cautious free agent to fill a need

With restricted free agent to sign, center Chris Tierney, who earned $ 2.937 million last season, Ottawa will soon have capping commitments in the sixties. Deep defenseman Christian Jaros is also a RFA, but he will probably play in Belleville

Given Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s commitment to spending near the 2021-2025 limit while chasing a capable Stanley Cup team, Ottawa will need some of their remaining cap space to keep his heart together The main RFA contracts which will expire next summer are forwards Tkachuk and Drake Batherson Defender Christian Wolanin will also be a tender

With its vast pool of prospects, Ottawa is expected to have a slew of players on entry-level deals over the next three or four years, including recent draft picks Tim Stuetzle, Jacob-Bernard Docker, Jake Sanderson and Lassi Thomson

There is enough short-term flexibility for the Senators to sign a free agent or two over the next year or so, to increase youth corps

Some of that flexibility stems from contracts ending next summer, including a total of $ 17.5 million from pending UFAs Artem Anisimov ($ 4.55 million), Erik Gudbranson ($ 4 million), Mike Reilly (15 million), Anders Nilsson (2 $ 6 million) and from the injured reserve list, Marian Gaborik at 4 $ 875 million

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Connor Brown

World News – CA – Senators Connor Brown embraces new veteran role with new contract



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