After signing forward Colin White to a six-year, $28.5MM extension last week, GM Pierre Dorion and the Ottawa Senators have turned their attention to talented young defenseman Thomas Chabot. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that the Senators have entered talks with Chabot about a new contract. Chabot’s entry-level contract expires after this coming season, but the team likely wants to avoid a difficult negotiation with their young star. However, whileDorion was happy to talk to Garrioch about White, he kept things close to the chest when it came to Chabot:
In the case of Colin White we were able to keep everything very confidential and we were able to get a contract done. We don’t think talking publicly about any contract negotiations, whether it’s Chabot or any pending UFA, does us any good. But we understand the importance of our young core and having them in Ottawa as long as possible… We’re going to keep (Chabot details) quiet, we’ve had discussions and I don’t want think I should say anymore.
The 22-year-old Chabot recorded a whopping 55 points in 70 games in just his second NHL season in 2018-19, including a team-high 41 assists. In total, Chabot has accumulated 80 points through his first 134 NHL games and is considered one of the best young offensive defensemen in the game. With so many departures from Ottawa over the last six months, the pressure will be on Chabot to take on an even bigger role moving forward. With that also comes the opportunity to produce even more offense on a Senators blue line largely devoid of any other established puck-movers.
Whereas White currently is owed more money than any other player on the Ottawa roster, that title will likely be short-lived. With the likes of Charlie McAvoy and Zach Werenski currently sitting unsigned and reportedly eyeing Jacob Trouba’s recent seven-year, $56MM contract as a comparable, Chabot is likely to land in that group as well. Owner Eugene Melnyk has been cautious about committing to large contracts over the last few years, but if he wants to hold on to the new Erik Karlsson, he will have to pay up for Chabot. Fortunately, the team has already begun negotiations, as it could be a long, arduous process.