The greatest off-season in Ottawa Senators’ history just keeps getting better.
After what’s already been an impressive summer of wheeling and dealing, Senators’ GM Pierre Dorion just handed out the biggest contract in club history. Today, they signed 20 year old centre Tim Stutzle to an eight-year extension worth $66.8 million, or an average annual value of $8.35 million.
Stutzle had 58 points in 79 games last season, his second in the NHL. At a glance, those usually aren’t the offensive stats of a guy you’d need to open the vault for. But the Senators aren’t locking up Stutzle for those numbers. They’re paying for what he’s about to become. The Senators – and everyone else for that matter – believe the young German is about to erupt as a truly elite NHL player this season.
“Reaching a long-term agreement with Tim represents another significant step forward for this organization,” Dorion said in a press release today. “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.”
With just one goal in his first 21 games, Stutzle had a tough start last season. But after being shifted to centre, Stutzle had a strong finish, closing out the season with 35 points in his final 35 games, playing primarily with players like Connor Brown and Alex Formenton. Now he’ll be jumping over the boards with two NHL-all stars in Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat. With talent like that bolstering his own, the Sens are banking on this contract looking like a bargain by season’s end. And it probably will.
Stutzle was chosen third overall in the 2020 NHL Draft and was set to become a restricted free agent after the 2022-23 season. He joins Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Thomas Chabot as players committed to Ottawa for at least the next five years. Stutzle will finish off his entry level deal this season before the new contract kicks in next year with a salary of $5M in 2023-24, followed by $6.5M in 2024-25, then $9M, $9M, $10M, $10M, $9.9M, and then finally, in 2030-31, $7.4M. Stutzle will be an old man of 29 at that point.
“I just wanted to sign here long-term,” Stutzle told TSN 1200 radio. “The group of guys we have, we have such a tight group and we have so many good young players. I think it’s going to be a really exciting future with all the guys we’ve got locked up.”
Stutzle has work to do defensively and at the faceoff dot, but his skating is absolutely electric and his vision, puck skill and offensive poise are off the charts. If there were any doubt about his character (and there shouldn’t be), he put them to rest in his radio interview today. Now set financially for life, he was asked what he planned to buy first. Would it be a mansion? A sportscar? A yacht?
“I think the first thing I’m going to do is that my parents don’t have to work anymore,” Stutzle said. “My Dad is working really hard right now and he has problems with his knee. He can’t really do that job that much longer anymore.
“So I think that’s number one, that my parents don’t have to worry about anything anymore.”
The Sens got a good one in Tim Stutzle. And they know it.
By Steve Warne