The Ottawa Senators have locked up star defenseman Jake Sanderson for the next decade. On Wednesday, Sanderson signed an eight-year, $64.4 million contract extension that carries an average annual value of $8.05 million.
The deal runs through the 2031-32 season and includes a 10-team no-trade clause list. Sanderson was set to enter the final year of his entry level contract in 2023-24.
Sanderson, who was selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, just wrapped up a very successful rookie campaign in which he recorded 32 points (four goals and 28 assists). The 21-year-old finished second among Senators defensemen in scoring while being named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team at the conclusion of the season. Thomas Chabot was the only other Senators blue-liner that logged more ice time on a nightly basis than Sanderson.
"Jake's transition to the pro game has been flawless," Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement. "He's a very mature young man who demonstrates a routine and skillful ability to play important minutes with poise. An effortless skater who holds himself to a high standard, he has the talent to be one of the best all-around defensemen in the NHL for years to come. We're very pleased to have another significant member of our core group of players under long-term contract."
The Senators have been quite successful building through the draft in recent seasons. The team has developed players like Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Shane Pinto and Chabot, who have become some of the most important players for the franchise. With Sanderson locked up, the team's next priority could be re-signing Pinto, who is currently a restricted free agent.
Over the past year, the franchise has also acquired star defenseman Jakob Chychrun in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes, while signing the likes of Claude Giroux and Vladimir Tarasenko to provide a veteran presence in the locker room.
Ottawa finished just six points out of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference during the 2022-23 season. With Sanderson and a talented, young core in place, the Senators appear to have a bright future.