Alex Devlincat’s camp has been silent in recent weeks as rumors swirled around his future in Ottawa.
But on Monday night, Devlin Cat’s agent Jeff Jackson wanted to mention a storyline that’s been getting a lot of attention.
After a Postmedia headline read, “Alex Devlincat’s deal calls for trade injunction with Ottawa Senators,” Jackson said in a text message that the report was “totally false and without merit.” ” he criticized. athletic.
Mr. Jackson wanted to clarify the circumstances surrounding his client, which he believed had been misrepresented in recent media reports.
“As far as I have been informed, no agreement of any kind has been reached regarding the actual trade involving Alex, which I would like to request before entering into actual negotiations,” Jackson wrote. “We are patiently waiting for that to happen.”
And when it came to the idea that Devlin Cat and his agents were a stumbling block to the sniper trade from Ottawa, Jackson made a very accurate assessment of the situation.
“Agents and players don’t trade…that’s the GM’s job,” Jackson wrote.
Devlin Catt’s contract has no no-trade clause, so technically, senators are free to send him to any club in the NHL without requiring Devlin Catt’s approval.
However, Devlin Catt’s value is somewhat limited at this point as he is entering his final season as a restricted free agent. If senators could come up with a sign-and-trade option for Devlin Cat, they could maximize profits. But trading with only one year left on the contract would dilute the return.
“Obviously the team would give him more if they knew he was around for over a year,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said last week. “So in our situation, yes, that would be ideal.”
The stalemate between Devlin Cat and the Senators has already crossed two key pressure points. The first was last week’s NHL Draft in Nashville, where Dorion seemed baffled by some of the offers he received for the two-time 40-point winger.
“We’re not going to trade him for $1. We feel he’s a really good guy,” Dorion said on June 28.
Dorion hoped the start of the free agency period on July 1 would create a second pressure point. Dorion was optimistic that some might come back to discuss Devlin Cats if teams succeed in gaining assists through the free agency market.
“By July 1st, I think we will have a good idea,” Dorion added on June 28th. “Maybe even teams that aren’t currently participating will be able to participate if they target players they haven’t acquired.”
However, by July 1, there had been no significant offers for Devlin Cat.
“There’s nothing new about Alex Devlincat,” Dorion told reporters at a media session in Ottawa on July 1, but said there was “varying degrees of interest” in the winger. rice field.
Both parties now await an imminent third pressure point in the form of an arbitration hearing, likely sometime in late July or early August. “When the arbitration period comes, we will have to make a decision,” Dorion acknowledged on Saturday.
One of Dorion’s suggested options was the idea of Devlin Cat returning to play for the Senators next season. One of the things Dorion made clear was that Devlin Cat didn’t ask for a trade from Ottawa in his exit conference with management at the end of the regular season. Thus, it appears that the point that there are irreconcilable differences between the two parties has not yet been reached.
“He suggested to us that he doesn’t intend to sign here long-term. That doesn’t mean he won’t sign a short-term deal,” Dorion said Saturday.
In that scenario, Devlin Cat would return to Ottawa in the fall on a one-year deal. And presumably the terms of his one-year deal will be determined through an arbitration process. If Ottawa wins, an independent arbitrator could award Ottawa a deal worth $7.65 million for the 2023-24 season, down 15% from the $9 million projected.
And while that would be a win for the Senators, it would also effectively eliminate the sign-and-trade option for Devlin Cat to leave Ottawa. Once Devlin Cat agrees to a one-year contract, whether through negotiation or arbitration, he cannot sign a contract extension beyond the 2024-25 season until after January 1, 2024.
Senators, then, will have to push Devlincat’s situation to a fourth, and even more dire, pressure point before next season’s trade deadline. If they’re in the middle of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference, it may be hard to justify trading a player like Devlincat, especially if Devlincat is enjoying his recovery. do not have. And even if he were traded, he might just get a pure rental fee by the trade deadline.
With next season’s trade deadline set for March 1, 2024, Devlin Catt can see the finish line in unrestricted free agency just four months away. He may be even more reluctant to sign a long-term contract extension at that point, choosing to wait until July 1, 2024 to pick and choose his preferred destination.
With each passing day, Devlincat’s influence in the camp grows and Devlincat approaches unlimited free agency. After the arbitration process, that authority would actually shift to her DeBrincat.
Dorion and the Senators would not want to take the uncertain path of seeing Starwinger possibly leave next summer with nothing in return. And perhaps he doesn’t want to repeat the process he went through with Mark Stone during the 2018-19 season when he finally traded to Vegas minutes before the trade deadline.
As such, arbitration hearings in the coming weeks will be the most likely catalyst for the resolution of the Devlin Cat case in Ottawa. We watched a similar situation play out last summer between Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames until a big trade with the Florida Panthers in late July.
But for Devlincat and the Senator to make that happen, they will probably both need to take a deep breath, stop, and find the right trading partner at some point in the next few weeks.
(Photo: David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire, Getty Images)
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