Ottawa Senators: Grading the Connor Brown signing

Ottawa Senators right wing Connor Brown (Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)
Ottawa Senators right wing Connor Brown (Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Ottawa Senators have agreed to a three-year extension with forward Connor Brown just before arbitration.

The Ottawa Senators were scheduled to go to arbitration with forward Connor Brown on Thursday. Instead, the two sides hammered out a deal early on Thursday morning, just before the hearing.

It’s a three-year deal worth $3.6 million per year. Brown will make $2.8 million in 2020-21, $4 million in 2021-22, and $4 million in 2022-23. After the 2022-23 season, Brown will be an unrestricted free agent.

Had this case gone to arbitration, Brown would have had to accept a one year deal and would have been a UFA after the 2020-21 season. Brown is now the fourth-highest paid Senators forward, trailing Evgenii Dadonov, Colin White, and Artem Anisimov.

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Grading The Contract

This looks like a terrific deal for the Senators. Brown is sticking around in Ottawa for longer than one season, but at the same time, it’s not a long-term commitment – just three years. This gives the Senators a lot of flexibility with their roster.

With so many young players in their system, Brown could find himself as a surplus piece down the line. Because of his three year deal, Brown should avoid that. Even in a best case scenario, Brown will probably be a third-line forward during the 2022-23 season. $3.6 million is fine for a top-nine forward.

Brown is a similar forward to Kevin Labanc, as I pointed out earlier. They have very similar 5v5 results over the past three seasons. The difference? Labanc has gotten more PP time and had better linemates. He also has better play driving abilities. But still, they’re fairly similar, so Brown getting over $500,000 less than him is quite reasonable.

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The Senators need to find a balance between veterans and young players. Brown is a good veteran player who can fill in just about anywhere in the lineup. This season, they’ll still probably need him to be a top-six forward. But even after Brown finds himself as a third-line forward, that’s a role he has had quite a bit of success in.

Grade: B-. The term is perfect and the cap hit is fine.