USATSI_7488362_154158418_lowresIt’s already been a big day in Ottawa for the Senators as they signed forward Bobby Ryan to a massive seven year contract extension worth $50.75 million and named Erik Karlsson their new team captain.

“Since acquiring Bobby in July of last year, we have had the opportunity to see firsthand the type of player he is on the ice as well as his leadership and professionalism off the ice,” Melnyk said. “He’s the type of player we want to build our team around.”

Ryan arrived in Ottawa in July of 2013 in a trade that sent Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a first rounder to the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan had spent six seasons in Anaheim and instantly made an impact when he arrived to play with the Senators. He had 23 goals in 70 games.

In a career 448 games, he has 170 goals and 337 points.

“I want to say how thrilled we are to make a long-term commitment to the city of Ottawa,” Ryan said. “When it came to this decision it was fairly easy; it was almost a no-brainer for us. We felt we had found the place where we could build a family, start a family, call home and everything we’ve experienced here in the last year has hinted at that.”

As for Karlsson, he’s the third captain of the Senators in as many seasons. He follows Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson and will be the ninth captain in franchise history in his sixth season with the hockey club.

Karlsson won the Norris Trophy in 2012 and has 237 points in 315 career games. Chris Phillips and Chris Neil will continue as alternate captains.

“Erik has quickly evolved to become one of the elite players in the National Hockey League,” Melnyk said. “Erik’s growth as a player is only surpassed by his growth off the ice. He has become a great ambassador of our hockey team and our city. Our team is ready to move forward under Erik’s overall leadership and he will be strongly supported by an exceptional group of veteran teammates.”

Without a doubt, Ottawa has signaled their intentions with these two moves on Thursday morning. With Ryan locked up for a long time and Karlsson in as the new leader, the Senators have a sense of direction and can certainly start to put the pieces together.

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