So does Ottawa's reported new broadcast deal worth up to $400 million with Bell Media, announced Wednesday, mean that owner Eugene Melnyk will finally be willing to open up his wallet?
Well, sort of. Melnyk gave the prudent answer when asked how much his willingness to chase free agents would be impacted by his new source of revenue.
“We are going to be competitive when spending on players. If I need to spend an extra $2 million to $3 million [on unrestricted free agents] to make the playoffs, it's a no brainer. I'll do it,” Melnyk said, though he cautioned that the team was still going to spend wisely.
“Just because you have extra money in your pocket doesn't mean you go out and spend it.”
Melnyk figures to have a substantial influx of cash from the new deals (the other being a national contract with Rogers Communication, announced last fall). The Senators could see anywhere from $20 million-$30 million annually over the next 12 years, according to the Ottawa Citizen. That could prove to be a significant departure from the $110 million that the team reportedly lost from 2003-2013.
The Senators (23-20-10) with 56 points are currently sixth in the Atlantic Division, and their newfound cash could make them players come the March 5 trade deadline.