Get the latest on Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel, and Cody Ceci.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports center Matt Duchene has probably played his final game for the Senators. With the Feb. 25 trade deadline approaching and no contract extension in sight, the Senators have decided to sit him pending a trade. Five teams, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and Winnipeg Jets, have expressed interest in Duchene.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman isn’t convinced the Jets are in on Duchene and wonders if the Calgary Flames or New York Islanders will become stealth suitors for the 28-year-old pending UFA center. If the Predators land him, there’s talk they could attempt to re-sign him to a long-term contract. He also feels the Blues Jackets’ interest in Duchene could include center Alex Wennberg, who could use a fresh start. However, his $4.9-million annual average value through 2022-23 could be more than the Senators want to take on.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duchene’s a goner, it’s just a matter of when and where. The Jets’ depth in prospects could give them the edge in the Duchene sweepstakes but their focus could be on another Senator (see below).
Wennberg could benefit from moving to another team but, as Friedman suggests, his contract could be a sticking point if the Jackets try to dangle him to the Senators. The reason the Jackets are interested in Duchene is they see him as a possible replacement for Artemi Panarin if they end up trading him to another club before the deadline.
Garrioch also reports the Senators are believed to have offered right wing Mark Stone a deal in the five- or six-year range with “a strong annual average value”. They’re not shopping Stone but are listening to trade offers. Garrioch expects the Flames and Vegas Golden Knights could be among the suitors.
Friedman reports rumors of a five-year offer worth $10.5-million AAV have been denied. He expects the Jets and Flames are among those kicking tires on Stone but the Golden Knights aren’t interested in him as a rental player. Appearing on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650, Friedman believes the Jets are going all-in on Stone. Jets center Jack Roslovic and prospect Kristian Vesalainen could tempt the Senators.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: cites a report by the New York Post’s Larry Brooks claiming the Boston Bruins are also all in on Stone.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Jets could probably benefit from bringing in Duchene and making him their second-line center, they’re reportedly content with Bryan Little in that role. Stone is said to be their main target.
While the Jets’ first-round pick is in play, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff reportedly doesn’t want to mortgage his future on a rental player. Unless he can re-sign Stone or Duchene, he could be reluctant to give up Roslovic or Vesalainen. As for the Bruins, they’re also reportedly watching another Senator (see below).
Garrioch reports it’s believed an offer was recently tabled to Dzingel but he may be holding off in the belief he’ll get a better offer from the Senators if Duchene and Stone are traded. Garrioch believes they have enough prospects in the system to replace Dzingel, who is being closely watched by the Boston Bruins. The Sens asking price is a first-round pick.
Friedman believes Dzingel’s fate is tied to Stone’s decision.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe noted the recent speculation tying the Jets to Duchene, Stone or Dzingel. He said the Senators covet Roslovic, who’d be a likely ask for Duchene or Stone. Vesalainen, Mason Appleton, Brendan Lemieux, Nic Petan, Sami Niku, Logan Stanley, Dylan Samberg, Declan Chisholm, and Eric Comrie could also be on the Senators’ wish list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dzingel would be a much more affordable acquisition than Duchene or Stone but he won’t have the same impact as those two. Still, he could become a decent consolation prize for clubs that fail to land Duchene or Stone. If the Senators trade away both guys, maybe they’ll try to re-sign Dzingel but not if he seeks considerably more than they wish to pay.
Friedman suggested a decision on defenseman Cody Ceci could come closer to the deadline. Appearing on the NHL Network, Friedman wondered if the Tampa Bay Lightning would have some interest in the right-handed blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ceci is a restricted free agent so the Senators aren’t under pressure to move him now, though they’ll consider it if there’s suitable interest. He’s also got arbitration rights again this summer, which could also factor into the Sens’ trade plans.