Ottawa Senators' Jared Cowen a Sought After Asset at Trade Deadline

Jared Cowen is a rare case. His contract will be a very attractive asset to teams in salary cap trouble. If Cowen is bought out in the summer, the acquiring team would be handed a cap-credit. This could help teams in cap trouble and could save a roster spot on certain teams.

Cowen has interesting contract

A Cowen buyout would earn the team a $650,000 credit towards the cap next season. The credit would go towards any potential overages the acquiring team is responsible for. An overage penalty is given to teams salary cap the next season when performance based bonuses are reached and puts them over the cap limit.

The credit is created by a unique contract structure and Cowen's age. Turning 25 today, he is due $4.5 million in 2016-17 which is $1.3 million more than his current cap hit which creates the credit. Since he is not over 26 years old, a buyout would only cost one third, not the regular two thirds of his remaining salary.

The Ottawa Senators have been trying to deal the 25 year old Cowen for the better part of the season. His stock will surely rise if dealt by the February 29th deadline. The Senators GM Bryan Murray doesn’t want to give Cowen away for free and shouldn’t have to with the added benefits he provides. There are 10 teams this season who could potentially have an overage charge next year. That is only using 50 percent of the available bonuses are realized.

Cowen battles along the boards. | Photo: Getty Images Sport/Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo
Cowen battles along the boards. | Photo: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images Sport

The Chicago Blackhawks are a great example. Rookie Artemi Panarin could hit the whole $2.6 million bonus applied to his contract. Teuvo Teravainen could also achieve his mark at $850,000 which for the cash strapped Hawks’ could be detrimental for roster spots. Acquiring and then buying out Jared could help relieve some of the overages on the books.

Teams that could use the help

The Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the New York Rangers are all in the same situation. The Oilers could use the able bodied defenseman anyway so the deal could serve two purposes. Buying him out and then resigning him as a free agent.

With all of these teams, besides the Oilers, in a playoff spot and all believe they are going to be in the race next year as well, the cap-credit could be huge and drive Cowen’s price way up.

Jared is the only player on the market who has the power to add credit to a team’s salary cap. Still being a capable defender in the NHL, he surely will get a deal in the summer if bought out. Bryan Murray won’t give him away for that reason, as he is filling in for Marc Methot while he recovers from injury. If the return is good enough, it would be hard to turn down for the Sens’ GM though.

If a buyout of Cowen’s contract does happen, the team will pay $750,000 dollars for the next two seasons but will be awarded $650,000 credit in 2016-17. There have only been four cases like Jared’s recorded but none have been as valuable is his. With the Canadian dollar in the gutter, the chances of the salary cap raising much next season is slim adding more value onto an already steady pile for Cowen’s “gift”.

Jared was the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Senators. He has collected four points, all assists, in 35 games this year. He has been averaging 17 minutes of ice-time this season which is his lowest total since coming into the NHL in 2011-12.