The number of restricted free agents in the NHL is diminishing by the day with training camps in full swing. The latest accord to be reached came on Saturday between the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Jared Cowen.
The interesting thing is that despite it being a four-year deal, it's still a bridge deal as Cowen will remain a restricted free agent when this contract expires, meaning the Senators will be able to keep him under control for a long time should things go well. And things so far are going pretty well.
Cowen only played seven games this past season as he sat out the majority of the campaign with an injury, one that he wasn't expected to come back so soon from. He scored one goal in those seven games and then had three assists in 10 playoff games. He did play all 82 games in 2011-12 as a 21-year-old and finished with five goals and 12 assists while averaging just a shade under 19 minutes per game. It was enough to show tremendous promise moving forward.
Cowen was selected ninth overall by the Senators in 2009 and has quickly risen through the ranks in the Senators' organization. Now he'll be part of a good, young defensive corps for what should be a long time to come in Canada's capital.