The Ottawa Senators are having an offseason for the ages.
After acquiring a few top-six forwards over the past few weeks to launch themselves back into relevancy, the Senators opted to take care of some business in-house, agreeing to terms with forward Josh Norris on a massive eight-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $7.95 million.
The deal, which now ties Norris to Ottawa through the 2029-2030 season, covers one restricted free-agent year and three RFA years with arbitration rights, as well as four unrestricted free-agent years, and will see Norris make the majority of his salary in years three to seven.
It's a massive bet to make on a player with a career-high of 55 points. One that could very likely fail.
But the Senators clearly believe in Norris as a future staple of their top-six, especially after the 23-year-old racked up 35 goals last season while on a roster with very little surrounding talent.
That will change starting immediately in 2022-23, as Norris will now almost certainly play with one or both of Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux on a line, giving the young centre some legitimately dangerous wingers who may very well help elevate his game and vice versa.
It's a slight overpay, of course. But by signing Norris before he has a chance to play in Ottawa's revamped forward corps, the Senators are banking on the possibility of locking him down before his true breakout.
Now, the focus shifts to the blueline in Ottawa, as GM Pierre Dorion must address the Senators' thin defense corps in order to ensure his team truly is ready for contention.