Zub signs 4-year, $18.4 million contract with Senators

Artem Zub signed a four-year, $18.4 million contract with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. It has an average annual value of $4.6 million.

“I’m happy to stay here in Ottawa,” Zub said Thursday. “This is a group with an organization where everything is good.”

The 27-year-old defenseman could have become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Zub was signed by the Senators on May 1, 2020 after playing the previous six seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. He has 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 142 NHL games, all with Ottawa.

“Artem’s transition to North American hockey has been remarkable,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. “He has worked hard to establish himself as an excellent NHL player and a strong defender. He consistently helps make us a better defensive team while he’s on the ice. We’re pleased to reach agreement with him on an extension of this length.”

Zub has four points (two goals, two assists) in 14 games this season, averaging 22:01 of ice time. He hasn’t played since Dec. 2 because of a fractured jaw.

“As soon as [the] doctor tells me everything is good (I will return),” Zub said. “I feel good, too. Maybe after Christmas. Maybe I’ll join the group and take contact.”

Zub set NHL career highs in goals (six), assists (16), points (22) and penalty minutes (60) in 81 games last season.

“With and without him, we’re a different team,” coach D.J. Smith said Thursday. “Obviously, management felt that way as well and locked him up long term. It’s hard to find those guys that can contribute on both sides of the puck, can play against the other teams top players. … We’re a different team, clearly, when he plays. For the organization, to have that guy locked up, and that kind of player locked up for long term, it’s certainly going to help.”

The Senators (14-16-3) lost 3-2 in overtime to the Washington Capitals on Thursday. independent correspondent Callum Fraser contributed to this report