The Ottawa Senators continue to form and lock up a formidable top-six forward group. Today, the team announced an eight-year, $63.6MM extension for center Josh Norris, carrying a $7.95MM cap hit. The deal keeps him a Senator until 2029-30 when he’ll be 31 years old and eligible for unrestricted free agency. The max-term extension, which is paid entirely in base salary, has the following breakdown:
General manager Pierre Dorion gave a statement on Norris’ signing:
We’re very pleased to come to a long-term agreement with Josh. He’s a versatile forward who continues to mature into an exceptional NHL player. His scoring prowess has already shown to be a considerable asset for us and one that will help us reach the next level. His dedication and the pride he takes in his physical conditioning will serve as a great example for our next wave of young players.
After finishing fourth in Calder Trophy voting during the 2020-21 season, Norris has blossomed into a true first-line center in Ottawa. Originally acquired from the San Jose Sharks as part of the blockbuster Erik Karlsson trade, Norris had 35 goals in 2021-22 to lead the team in just 66 games.
He’ll only build on those point totals as he’ll return as part of a fortified top-six that includes a healthy Drake Batherson, as well as offseason additions Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux. If Ottawa is able to make the jump to the playoffs for the first time since losing in the 2017 Eastern Conference Final, his role on the team’s top line will be a big reason why.
The Senators have $10.8MM in cap space remaining with Alex Formenton, Mathieu Joseph, and Erik Brannstrom needing new contracts, per PuckPedia. While those contracts won’t push them right against the salary cap, this Norris extension continues to mark a trend towards big spending that’s been absent in Ottawa during recent years. Committing to their talent financially on reasonable contracts like Norris’ is a clear path to sustainable success, something that the Senators organization will welcome with open arms.