The Ottawa Senators signed star forward Tim Stützle to an eight-year, $66.8 million extension on Wednesday. The 2022-23 season will be the last season on his rookie, entry-level deal before this new extension kicks in.
The 20-year-old German broke out in his sophomore NHL campaign after moving to his more natural center position after spending the majority of his rookie season on the wing. In 79 games, the former third overall draft selection recorded 58 points.
Stützle’s the latest young star in the league to sign a max-length deal during the NHL’s current flat cap era.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) September 7, 2022
“Reaching a long-term agreement with Tim represents another significant step forward for this organization,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a press release. “Tim is a dynamic offensive player who utilizes an exceptional blend of speed and skill to be a consistent difference maker. He’s electrifying and has quickly become a fan favourite for good reason.”
Stützle is the highest-scoring player from the 2020 NHL Draft class with 87 career points from 132 games.
The new deal will keep the young center in Ottawa through the 2030-31 season and breaks down yearly salary-wise as follows: $5M in 2023-24, $6.5M in 2024-25, $9M in 2025-26, $9M in 2026-27, $10M in 2027-28, $10M in 2028-29, $9.9M in 2029-30, and $7.4M in 2030-31.
Tim Stützle, signed to a 8x$8.4M extension by OTT, is a promising young forward who loves to carry the puck in transition and show off his hands. Still working out how to create offence in dangerous areas, produced well last season but mostly on the PP. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/MrjBrhQ4ij
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) September 7, 2022
Via CapFriendly, the most similar contract in the league to this extension also resides in Ottawa. The Sens inked young captain Brady Tkachuk to a seven-year, $57.5 million deal at the very beginning of last season. This summer, they also signed forward Josh Norris to an eight-year, $63.6 million contract ($7.95 million AAV).
“The moves we made, the signings we made with Josh for long-term committing to that time, the talk about the new rink downtown, everything, the expectations are high,” Stützle said to NHL.com in late August. “We want to show the fans that we’re a good team, a young team and we can really be a lot better than we played the last two years.”
Those three deals add to the trend of young, potential star players signing huge deals even with the knowledge that the current flat cap situation is likely to cease in the near future. A report from Sportsnet quoted NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly saying that the salary cap could rise “significantly” after the 2023-24 season.
In theory, these players are passing on bigger potential future earnings in favor of security now.
Other similar situations include Carolina signing Andrei Svechnikov for eight years and $62 million in August of 2021; Los Angeles and Kevin Fiala (seven years, $55.13 million) in June of 2022; Minnesota and Kirill Kaprizov (five years, $45 million) in September of 2021; and Florida and Matthew Tkachuk (eight years, $76 million) in July of 2022.
Young players who could be offered long-term deals in the near future include pending FA’s Mathew Barzal, Nathan MacKinnon, David Pastrnak, Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Larkin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Timo Meier, Jesper Bratt, Jordan Kyrou, Roope Hintz, Troy Terry, and Trevor Zegras. These players will have to judge if they want to sign long-term deals now or sign shorter deals, bet on themselves, and see where there number falls with future salary caps.
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