Methot Contract Negotiations Stall?

According to the Ottawa Citizen‘s Ken Warren, don’t wait by the computer anticipating the Senators to announce a Marc Methot extension.

Negotiations between the Senators and Methot’s agent, Larry Kelly, are at a stalemate as the sides try to work out a deal to prevent the 6-3, 230-pound defenceman from becoming an unrestricted free agent following the 2014-15 season.

Inevitably some fans are going to instinctively bemoan this news and use the opportunity to drop trou on the organization, especially since Senators assistant general manager Pierre Dorion did indicate that the contract extension process with Methot would be a “fairly simple one” back in late July.

On one hand, it’s tough to blame fans for having such a vested interest in the status of the organization’s impending unrestricted free agents like Methot, Bobby Ryan, Clarke MacArthur and Craig Anderson. Whether the organization resolves these contract negotiations will go a long way in determining the direction of this franchise moving forward.

On the other hand, it is a contract negotiation and it’s naive to expect everything to move along swimmingly. Posturing and stalled talks are all part of the process and it is only the beginning of August. We are still approximately two months away from the start of the NHL’s regular season, so there is still a ton of time for the organization to come to terms with any of their 2015 UFAs.

Warren mentioned that the Methot camp may be using Matt Carle (six years, $33M) and Brooks Orpik (five years, $27.5M) contracts as comparables during these negotiations and if true, who could blame his agent Larry Kelly for that?

You can’t. Methot is a top four defenceman on many a team and he deserves to be paid like one – I’m thinking somewhere in the range of $5 to $6-million per season.

As an impending UFA, these players (especially Methot and Ryan) know that they can cash in on the open market at the end of the season, so they expect the organization to compensate them fairly so that they pass up their first opportunity to cash in on free agency and hand pick their next organization to play for.

Methot even touched upon the latter point a few weeks ago.

“But this is my first time really being in this position. In the past, I had restricted free agency. Now, with unrestricted free agency just around the corner, it changes the dynamic. I’d like to stay here but there’s only so much I can do. It’s up to my agent to get something done.”

And in comments made by Jason Spezza during his introductory press conference with the Dallas Stars, I’m sure a number of players share his sentiment that they want to play for an organization who is committed to win by spending money to improve the roster and with it, the team’s chances to contend. These 2015 UFAs will also want assurances from the organization that ownership has the stability and wherewithal to significantly add to this team’s payroll to make it better.

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