Sens fans were greeted with a surprise this morning when the team announced that defenceman Thomas Chabot had agreed to an 8-year/$64 million contract extension with the club. As they rejoiced in the comments and replies on social media, the Senators players and staff shared their excitement about their All-Star defenceman's long-term commitment to the future.
"Today is a great day for Ottawa Senators fans and our community," said general manager Pierre Dorion to start today's media conference announcing the deal. "Thomas is committed to the vision of the Ottawa Senators and the direction that we're heading in."
For his part, Chabot reiterated his commitment to the team that selected him in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft and the city and fanbase that has adopted him.
"This is where I want to be," stated Chabot. "I love the city and I love the fans and I'm really looking forward to the future here."
Video: Thomas Chabot | Contract Extension Press Conference
Including the final year of his entry-level contract, Chabot is now locked up for the next 9 seasons. With the team in the midst of a youth movement, Senators head coach D.J. Smith praised his young blueliner's new deal and shared his excitement at getting to work with him for the foreseeable future.
"It's an outstanding day for us as an organization," said Smith. "It's certainly exciting as a coach to have a player of that caliber that you know you have an opportunity to work and grow with as a team for 8+ years."
Chabot's extension came just under a month after restricted free agent Colin White agreed to a new 6-year contract with the Senators and now the pair are looking forward to helping shape the future in Ottawa together.
"We always talk about the young, core guys here and to see Colin sign a deal for 6 years is huge," Chabot said. "It shows that guys want to be here and guys want to be a part of this."
White echoed Chabot's thoughts on what their long-term deals mean for the franchise as well as the message it sends to the young players in the locker room.
"He's one of my best friends here. To see him get locked up is pretty exciting for us young guys and the organization too," he said. "We see a bright future here. It's something we all want to help build towards."
With Chabot's new deal filed alongside White's before the start of the year, the Sens can focus on preparing for a season that will hopefully lay the groundwork for this team's identity and development for years to come.
"These kids are going to get to grow together which will make for an exciting team here in the future," said Smith. "We're going to play hard every night and continue to get better."